Group Unveils OPCW Cover-up in Douma Chemical Attack

Group Unveils OPCW Cover-up in Douma Chemical Attack

By Staff, Agencies

The Courage Foundation group dedicated to defending whistleblowers stressed that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons [OPCW] “sidestepped” concerns about its controversial investigation into the 2018 alleged chemical attack in the Syrian city of Douma, accusing the body of accepting “unsubstantiated or possibly manipulated” findings.

In a statement, the Courage Foundation highlighted instances in which OPCW inspectors involved with the probe identified major procedural and scientific irregularities.

The group said that former OPCW director general Jose Bustani had recently been prevented by key members of the Security Council from participating in a hearing on the Syrian dossier.

Recently, the group added, a draft letter falsely alleged to have been sent by the OPCW director general to one of the dissenting inspectors was leaked to an open source investigation website in an apparent attempt to smear the ex-OPCW scientist.

The “OPCW management now stands accused of accepting unsubstantiated or possibly manipulated findings with the most serious geopolitical and security implications. Calls by some members of the Executive Council of the OPCW to allow all inspectors to be heard were blocked,” the Courage Foundation said.

“To date, unfortunately, the OPCW senior management has failed to adequately respond to the allegations against it and, despite making statements to the contrary, we understand has never properly allowed the views or concerns of the members of the investigation team to be heard or even met with most of them. It has, instead, side-stepped the issue by launching an investigation into a leaked document related to the Douma case and by publicly condemning its most experienced inspectors for speaking out.”

The statement was signed by almost 30 public figures, including renowned American scholar and political activist Noam Chomsky and Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg as well as multiple scientists, including four former OPCW inspectors.

On April 7, 2018, an alleged chemical attack hit Douma near the Syrian capital, Damascus. Western countries were quick to blame it on the Syrian government.

The OPCW’s final report on the incident, published in March 2019, all but confirmed justification for the Western act of aggression.

However, whistleblowing website WikiLeaks released several batches of documents suggesting that the OPCW may have intentionally doctored its findings, notably avoiding revelations which may point to terrorists having been behind the purported gas attack.

“The issue at hand threatens to severely damage the reputation and credibility of the OPCW and undermine its vital role in the pursuit of international peace and security. It is simply not tenable for a scientific organization such as the OPCW to refuse to respond openly to the criticisms and concerns of its own scientists whilst being associated with attempts to discredit and smear those scientists,” the pro-whistleblower group said.

It also called on the OPCW director general “to find the courage to address the problems within his organization relating to this investigation.”

“We believe that the interests of the OPCW are best served by the Director General providing a transparent and neutral forum in which the concerns of all the investigators can be heard as well as ensuring that a fully objective and scientific investigation is completed,” the Courage Foundation noted.

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How the Left is being Manipulated into Colluding in its own Character Assassination

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His books include “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net.  He is a frequent contributor to Global Research

By Jonathan Cook

Global Research, January 09, 2021

There was a fascinating online panel discussion on Wednesday night on the Julian Assange case that I recommend everyone watch. The video is at the bottom of the page.  

But from all the outstanding contributions, I want to highlight a very important point made by Yanis Varoufakis that has significance for understanding current events well beyond the Assange case. 

Varoufakis is an academic who was savaged by the western political and media establishments when he served as Greece’s finance minister. Back in 2015 a popular leftwing Greek government was trying to oppose the imposition of severe loan conditions on Greece by European and international financial institutions that risked tipping the Greek economy into deeper bankruptcy and seemed chiefly intended to upend its socialist programme. The government Varoufakis served was effectively crushed into obedience through a campaign of economic intimidation by these institutions.

 Varoufakis describes here the way that leftwing dissidents who challenge or disrupt western establishment narratives – whether it be himself, Assange or Jeremy Corbyn – end up not only being subjected to character assassination, as was always the case, but nowadays find themselves being manipulated into colluding in their own character assassination.

 Here is a short transcript of Varoufakis’ much fuller comments – about 48 minutes in – highlighting his point about co-option:

 “The establishment, the Deep State, call it whatever you want, the oligarchy, they’ve become much, much better at it [character assassination] than they used to be. Because back in the 1960s and 1970s, you know, they would accuse you of being a Communist. They would accuse me of being a Marxist. Well, I am a Marxist. I’m really not going to suffer that much if you accuse me of being a left-winger. I am a left-winger!

 “Now what they do is something far worse. They accuse you of something that really hurts you. Calling somebody like us a racist, a bigot, an antisemite, a rapist. This is what really hurts because if anybody calls me a rapist today, right, even if it’s complete baloney, I feel as a feminist I have the need to give the woman, implied or involved somehow in this accusation, the opportunity to speak against me. Because that is what we left-wingers do.”

Varoufakis’ point is that when Assange was accused of being a rapist, as he was before the US made clear the real case against him – by trying to extradite him from the UK for exposing its war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan – he could not defend himself without alienating a significant constituency of his natural supporters, those on the left who identify as feminists. Which is exactly what happened.

 Similarly, as Varoufakis notes from earlier conversations he had with Assange, the Wikileaks founder was in no position to properly defend himself against accusations that he colluded with Russia and Donald Trump to help Trump win the 2016 US presidential election against Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.

 At the time, Assange’s supporters were able to point out that the leaked emails were true and that they were in the public interest because they showed deep corruption in the Democratic party establishment. But those arguments were drowned out by a narrative confected by the US media and security establishments that Wikileaks’ publication of the emails was political interference because the emails had supposedly been hacked by Russia to sway the election result.

 Because Assange was absolutely committed to the principle of non-disclosure of sources, he refused to defend himself in public by confirming that the emails had been leaked to him by a Democratic party insider, not the “Russians”. His silence allowed his vilification to go largely unchallenged. Having already been stripped of support from much of the feminist left, particularly in Europe, Assange now lost the support of a sizeable chunk of the left in the US too.

In these cases, the one who stands accused has to defend themselves with one hand tied behind their back. They cannot hit back without further antagonising a substantial section of their supporters, deepening divisions within the left’s ranks. The victim of this kind of character assassination is caught in the equivalent of reputational quicksand. The more they fight, the deeper they sink.

Which is, of course, exactly what happened to the UK’s former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn when he was accused of being a racist. If he or his supporters tried to challenge the claim that the party had become antisemitic overnight under his leadership – even if only by citing statistics that showed the party hadn’t – they were immediately denounced for supposed “antisemitism denial”, posited as the modern equivalent of Holocaust denial.

Notice Ken Loach, who was also on the panel, nodding in agreement as Varoufakis speaks. Because Loach, the noted leftwing, anti-racist film-maker who came to Corbyn’s defence against the confected media campaign smearing him as an antisemite, soon found himself similarly accused.

Jonathan Freedland, a senior columnist at the liberal Guardian, was among those using precisely the tactic described by Varoufakis. He tried to discredit Loach by accusing him of denying Jews the right to define their own experience of antisemitism.   

Freedland sought to manipulate Loach’s anti-racist credentials against him. Either agree with us that Corbyn is an antisemite, and that most of his supporters are too, or you are a hypocrite, disowning your own anti-racist principles – and solely in the case of antisemitism. And that, QED, would prove you too are motivated by antisemitism.

Loach found himself with a terrible binary choice: either he must collude with Freedland and the corporate media in smearing Corbyn, a long-standing political ally, or else he would be forced to collude in his own smearing as an antisemite.

It’s a deeply ugly, deeply illiberal, deeply manipulative, deeply dishonest tactic. But it is also brilliantly effective. Which is why nowadays rightists and centrists use it at every opportunity. The left, given its principles, rarely resorts to this kind of deceit. Which means it can only bring a peashooter to a gun fight.

https://twitter.com/Jonathan_K_Cook/status/131348440736224870

This is the left’s dilemma. It’s why we struggle to win the argument in a corporate media environment that not only denies us a hearing but also promotes the voices of those like Freedland trying to destroy us from the centre and those supposedly on the left like George Monbiot and Owen Jones who are too often destroying us from within.

As Varoufakis also says, the left needs urgently to go on the offensive.

We need to find ways to turn the tables on the war criminals who have been gaslighting us in demanding that Assange, who exposed their crimes, is the one who needs to be locked up.

We need to make clear that it is those who are so ready to smear anti-racists as antisemites – as Corbyn’s successor, Sir Keir Starmer, has done to swaths of Labour party members – who are the real racists.

And we need to unmask as war hawks those who accuse the anti-war left of serving as apologists for dictators when we try to stop western states conducting more illegal, resource-grab wars with such devastating results for local populations.

We must get much more sophisticated in our thinking and our strategies. There is no time to lose.

This essay first appeared on Jonathan Cook’s blog: https://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/ 

For Years, Journalists Cheered Assange’s Abuse. Now They’ve Paved His Path to a US Gulag

Journalists, Activists Condemn UK Decision to Keep Assange Locked Up without Charge

By Alan Macleod

Source

AUnited Kingdom court has ruled that Wikileaks cofounder Julian Assange must remain in prison, despite an earlier ruling that he could not be extradited to the United States.

Explaining her decision, District Judge Vanessa Baraitser said that, “As far as Mr. Assange is concerned, this case has not been won,” adding that the United States must be allowed to appeal her earlier decision. Part of the ruling was based upon her assessment of the Australian publisher being a serious flight risk if released, noting he had “huge support networks” that could help him “should he again choose to go to ground.”

The court’s decision was immediately panned by journalists and press freedom organizations who had hoped to see Assange released today, after seven years in prison and hiding in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. “To us, that is nothing more than a pretext to keep him detained. This seems unnecessarily punitive and adding insult to injury after the 10 years of hell that he has endured…We are deeply disappointed with today’s decision,” said Rebecca Vincent, Reporters Without Borders’ Director of International Campaigns, outside the courtroom.

Vincent had been denied entry to the courtroom today, as had some of Assange’s relatives. She had also faced questioning and harassment from police, who used their new powers under the U.K.’s lockdown law to break up pro-Assange demonstrations, even arresting a 92-year-old man.

Julian Assange
Police arrest an Assange supporter outside the Westminster Magistrates Court in London, Jan. 6, 2021. Matt Dunham | AP

Assange’s lawyer, Edward Fitzgerald QC, expressed his disappointment at the news that his client would be heading back to Belmarsh prison in south London. “The logical outcome of the ruling would be he regains liberty at least conditionally,” he stated.

Assange’s colleagues in [alternative] media were also quick to condemn Baraitser’s ruling. “The judge’s decision against bailing Assange only fuels the theory that this prosecution is about keeping a publisher who the U.S. government despises tied up and in limbo so he cannot effectively challenge them ever again,” said Kevin Gosztola, “This is absolutely outrageous for the judge to deny Assange bail and to claim that Belmarsh is doing a fine job of handling COVID, even while London is on lockdown.”

“There are no charges pending against Julian Assange in the U.K. A U.K. judge denied the U.S.’s request to extradite him, the only place where charges are pending. Despite this, the judge just ruled he must remain imprisoned — in a COVID-ridden high-security prison — while the U.S. appeals,” added Glenn Greenwald. “This shows how authoritarian the British judiciary is. The only thing the U.S. cares about is keeping Assange in a cage, silenced and disappeared. This gives them the best of all worlds: he stays in prison, with no need to prove he’s guilty of anything. That’s despotic.”

A particularly high-security prison, H.M.P. Belmarsh is generally considered the U.K.’s most notorious jail, taking in prisoners from around the country that other prisons cannot handle. The government’s 2019 report on conditions inside the facility noted it was overrun with 120 violent gangs and that there were 161 recorded inmate assaults on staff. After a COVID-19 outbreak this year, inmates have been largely locked down in their cells, typically for 23 hours a day.

On Monday, Baraitser ruled that Assange would not be sent to the United States as she was not convinced that the U.S. prison system could guarantee he would not commit suicide while incarcerated. The publisher faced up to 175 years in prison for his alleged breach of the Espionage Act of 1917 while receiving classified information from U.S. soldier Chelsea Manning. However, she sided with the United States on both their assertions and the legality of their claims, setting a precedent that some called a “chilling” ruling for investigative journalism.

Wikileaks disseminated Manning’s information, which came to be known as the Iraq War Logs. Perhaps the most explosive revelation was a recording of a U.S. helicopter attack on central Baghdad in July 2007. The video shows American personnel massacring at least a dozen Iraqi civilians, including two Reuters journalists, in cold blood. The images went viral on social media and showed a completely different side to the occupation than the carefully sanitized one the U.S. military had been fastidiously curating.

From 2013 to 2019, Assange was confined to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, unable to travel to the country that had offered him political asylum. However, keen to curry favor with Washington, new president Lenin Moreno allowed British authorities to enter the building and arrest him. Since then, he has been housed in Belmarsh. This new ruling prolongs his stay. But if the appeal is unsuccessful, the U.K. will no longer have any legal argument to keep him interned. Perhaps there is light at the end of the tunnel for the Australian.

The Assange saga: Practicing real journalism is criminally insane

The Assange saga: Practicing real journalism is criminally insane

January 07, 2021

By Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted at Asia Times

Synchronicity is definitely fond of mirror wonderwalls. The Julian Assange saga seemed to have entered a new chapter as he was, in thesis, on his way to – conditional – freedom this past Monday, only one day after the first anniversary of the start of the Raging Twenties: the assassination of Maj Gen Qassem Soleimani.

The fate of the journalist the Empire seeks to terminate was just juxtaposed to the fate of the warrior/diplomat the empire already terminated.

Two days later, Julian Assange was de facto re-incarcerated exactly as the Empire was hit by an “insurrection” which, whenever instigated in that distant “Third World”, is celebrated in Exceptionalistan as “people power”.

The invaluable Craig Murray, from inside Westminster Magistrates Court No. 1 in London, meticulously presented the full contours  of the insanity this Wednesday.

Read it in conjunction with the positively terrifying judgment delivered on Monday in the United States government case against Julian Assange.

The defining issue, for all those who practice real journalism all across the world, is that the judgment affirms, conclusively, that any journalist can be prosecuted under the US Espionage Act. Since a 1961 amendment, the Espionage Act carries universal jurisdiction.

The great John Pilger memorably describes “judge” Vanessa Baraitser as “that Gothic woman”. She is in fact an obscure public servant, not a jurist. Her judgment walks and talks like it was written by a mediocre rookie hack. Or, better yet, entirely lifted from the US Department of Justice indictment.

Julian Assange was – at the last minute – discharged on theoretically humanitarian grounds. So the case had, in effect, ended. Not really. Two days later, he was sent back to Belmarsh, a squalid maximum security prison rife with Covid-19. So the case is ongoing.

WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnnson correctly noted, “It is unjust and unfair and illogical when you consider her ruling of two days ago about Julian’s health in large part because he is in Belmarsh prison (…) To send him back there doesn’t make any sense.”

It does when one considers the real role of Baraitser – at a loss to juggle between the imperatives of the imperial agenda and the necessity of saving the face of British justice.

Baraitser is a mere, lowly foot soldier punching way above her weight. The real power in the Assange case is Lady Emma Arbuthnot, forced out of a visible role because of very compromising, direct ties she and her husband Lord Arbuthnot maintain with British intelligence and military, first revealed by – who else – WikiLeaks.

It was Arbuthnot who picked up obscure Baraitser – who dutifully follows her road map. In court, as Murray has detailed in a series of searing reports, Baraitser essentially covers her incompetence with glaring vindictiveness.

Baraitser discharged Julian Assange, according to her own reasoning, because she was not convinced the appalling American gulag would prevent him from committing suicide.

But the key issue is that before reaching this conclusion, she agreed and reinforced virtually every point of the US indictment.

So at this point, on Monday, the “Gothic woman” was performing a contortion to save the US from the profound global embarrassment of prosecuting a de facto journalist and publisher for revealing imperial war crimes, not United States government secrets.

Two days later, the full picture became crystal clear. There was nothing “humanitarian” about that judgment. Political dissent was equaled with mental illness. Julian Assange was branded as criminally insane. Once again, practicing journalism was criminalized.

There are reasons to believe though, that a United States government appeal may fail. A British High Court would be reluctant to overturn a judgment where Baraitser actually established findings of fact: a direct correlation between the state of the American gulag, and the extreme danger to Assange’s health if he’s thrown inside this system.

As it stands, it didn’t even matter that Assange’s defense offered a full package to obtain bail, from home arrest to the use of an ankle bracelet. Baraitser’s notion that the British security state would not be able to prevent his “escape” wearing an ankle bracelet in the middle of a total, police state-style lockdown does not even qualify as a joke.

So Julian Assange is back to suffering a perverse, interminable rewrite of Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum.

The US government’s legal strategy before the High Court convenes in April is basically to try to prove its American gulag is competent enough to prevent a suicide – even though the ultimate aim of this post-truth Inquisition seems to be the termination of Julian Assange inside the penal system. That goal doesn’t even require a supermax prison in Colorado. Belmarsh will do.

صبية السفارة….صيدا تصوّب البوصلة

See the source image

ابراهيم الأمين 

الخميس 17 كانون الأول 2020

«اللي بجَنبو مسلّة بتنعَروا»!

التسريبات عن دور الحكومات الغربية في رعاية «الأنشطة المدنية التغييرية» ليست جديدة. والمعلومات المتداولة كثيرة حول أدوار تفصيلية تقوم بها هذه الجهة أو تلك. وفي كل مرة، يلجأ المشار اليهم بعنوان «المتعاونين» مع هذه الجهات الدولية الى الاحتجاج، بعد إشهار ما يخص «تعاونهم»، سواء على شكل محاضر اجتماعات جرت معهم (وثائق الخارجية الاميركية)، أم على شكل خلاصات وتوصيات تشير الى أدوارهم (وثائق السعودية والامارات). مع ذلك، يمارس هؤلاء دفاعاً فيه حياء من يشعر بأنه بات من دون غطاء، إلى درجة تستحق الشفقة، كما هي حال معارضين سوريين (تحولوا إلى أدوات في معركة تدمير الدولة والمجتمع في سوريا) امتنعت «الأخبار» – عن سابق تصميم – عن نشر ما يتعلق بـ«تعاونهم» أيضاً، رغم أن تفاصيل ذلك باتت مباحة على موقع «ويكيليكس»!

لكنَّ ثمة أمراً غريباً يحصل منذ أيام في بيروت. لم تنشر «الأخبار» سوى الاطار العام للوثائق المسرّبة من جهات بريطانية حول برامج الدعم التي قدمتها حكومة صاحبة الجلالة الى «المتمردين» في لبنان. ما نُشر لا يُقارن بما نُشر سابقاً حول البرامج نفسها في سوريا، ولا يمثّل سوى رأس جبل الجليد في ملفات موثّقة، بصورة رسمية وغير رسمية، حول تفاصيل العمل البريطاني المستمر في لبنان منذ عقدين على الاقل، مع حرارة أعلى منذ نحو عقد. مع ذلك، ثارت ثائرة «صبية السفارة» ممن استشعروا «خطر» الكشف عن صلاتهم العميقة بهذا المشروع، وبادروا الى حملة ردود لها عنوان واحد: إذا كنا متّهمين بالعمالة للغرب، فأنتم عملاء لإيران… ما يعني عودة من جديد الى لعبة الأشقياء المحبّبة والتي لها عنوان واحد: «بيّي أقوى من بيّك»!

حقيقة الأمر تكمن في أن هذه المجموعات وعدت مشغّليها بكثير من الانجازات. أساساً، لم تتحمّل رؤوس هؤلاء أورام 17 تشرين عندما تخيّلوا أنفسهم أمام قصر الشتاء في لينينغراد، وهم الذين لم يتقدموا مرة واحدة صفوف الشباب المحتج. بل كانوا يتكلون، طوال الوقت، على «أطفال اليسار» أو «فقراء الضواحي وطرابلس». وإلا، هل في ذاكرة أحد خبر عن اعتقال أحد هؤلاء أو توقيفه أو ضربه من قبل جلاوزة السلطة؟ لم يحصل ذلك… ولن يحصل، لأن هؤلاء الصبية تعلّموا وتدرّبوا ليتولّوا إدارة البلاد، ولكي يُطلّوا منظّرين على الشاشات، خصوصاً «شاشات الثورة» التي اهتمت بها مشاريع صاحبة الجلالة ايضاً، تماماً كما تهتم بها اليوم مشيخة الامارات العربية المتحدة أو برنامج الدعاية الاميركية؛ إذ لم يعد سراً ما تدفعه دولة الامارات والولايات المتحدة لقنوات «الجديد» و«مر تي في» و«المؤسسة اللبنانية للإرسال» مقابل خدمات التحريض ضد حزب الله، حيث أمكن، وضد حلفاء الحزب، حيث يجب. ولن تكون مقدمة نشرة أخبار «الجديد» المليئة بالقبح والحقد والسفالة تجاه الرئيس ميشال عون، قبل يومين، آخر الأنشطة الثورية لهذه الموبقات الموجودة على شكل هياكل خراسانية أو بشرية!

المهم أن هؤلاء «الصبية» انزعجوا من فتح الملف فقط. وهم في حال قلق من المستور الذي لم يكشف بعد. وربما يدرسون، الآن، كيفية إعادة النظر في حساباتهم، لأنه عندما تُنشر أرقام الاموال التي حصلوا عليها، ستطرح الاسئلة في دوائرهم الضيقة، وعندما تُنشر البرامج سيسأل القريبون منهم عن حقيقة ما أنجز. إلا أن هذا القلق لم يجعل توترهم يقتصر على الهجوم الأعمى دفاعاً عن أنفسهم، بل دفعهم الى قطع «شرش الحياء»، لأنهم وجدوا أنه لم يعد هناك من داع للتبرؤ من الانتماء الطوعي الى مشروع له هدف واحد أحد: ضرب المقاومة في لبنان، سواء كان ذلك عبر تدمير الدولة بحجة مكافحة الفساد، أم تدمير المؤسسات بحجة أنها خاضعة لسيطرة حزب الله، وشن حملة إعلامية بأدوات مختلفة تحت عنوان الدفاع عن الحريات، من «تمكين المرأة» و«حقوق المثليين» الى «إدارة النفايات الصلبة» وتقليص حجم القطاع العام بحجة تطهيره من حشو أزلام السلطة.

ما نُشر حول تفاصيل العمل البريطاني في لبنان لا يمثّل سوى رأس جبل الجليد في ملفات موثّقة


هؤلاء الصبية لا يهتمون لبقاء شيء في لبنان، ويظهرون استعدادا لتدمير صروح من داخلها. ترى، مثلاً، كيف يتصرف «العلمانيون» الذي حصدوا الحكومة الطلابية في الجامعة الاميركية مع خطط فضلو خوري وبرامجه لتدمير الجامعة وتفريغها من أصحاب الرأي الآخر وإبعاد الخبرات الجدية ودفع كثيرين الى الهجرة، بحجة تقليص النفقات، وهو الذي لم يقل لنا ما هو حجم التبرعات التي حصلت عليها الجامعة لترميم ما دمره انفجار المرفأ من زجاج فيها. هل لأحد أن يسأل عن الرقم؟ ما يقوم به خوري في هذه المؤسسة بات يرقى الى مصاف التآمر على تدمير صرح كبير، لأنه صار واحداً من مجموعة تعتبر أن بيروت لا تستحق مؤسسة لها سمعة أكاديمية مقبولة، إلا في حال صمتنا عن سوء سمعتها الأخلاقية والسياسية، وامتنعنا عن التدقيق في طريقة إدارتها اليومية لشؤون العاملين فيها، علماً بأنه في الوقت نفسه الذي قرر فيه رفع الاقساط بنسبة 160 في المئة، وهو يعرف أن النتيجة تعني إبعاد ثلث الطلاب من ذوي الاصول الاجتماعية المتوسطة، أطلق معركة في وجه العاملين بعقود مع الجامعة (غير المتفرغين)، أي ممن لا يتقاضون راتباً شهرياً مع بدلاته وضرائبه. فوضع ميزانية لهم تجعل عملهم أقرب الى السخرة، صارفاً لهم زيادات لا تتجاوز قيمتها ثلاثين دولاراً، فيما يوقّع عقوداً خاصة لمن يعملون على العلاقات العامة بآلاف الدولارات الطازجة شهرياً. أكثر من ذلك، فقد قرر تعديل آلية احتساب مداخيل العاملين لديه من حملة الجنسية الأميركية، بقصد رفع نسبة الضريبة على دخلهم، والنتيجة، أنه يحتسب الدخل على أدنى سعر للصرف، بينما يدفع للحكومة الأميركية ضرائب أكبر… لكن بالدولار الطازج نفسه.

«صبية السفارة» هؤلاء «يصادف» أنهم تلامذة وأساتذة ومتعاونون ومتعاملون وخبراء في «دكانة فضلو خوري وشركاه». وهؤلاء يريدون اليوم نقل المواجهة الى مستوى جديد، لكنهم لا يزالون يخشون إشهار علاقتهم بالغرب الاستعماري، ويرفضون الإقرار بأنهم يعملون عنده وفي خدمة أهدافه. ولو كان بينهم من يملك شجاعة القول لخرج علينا ليقول: نحن أحرار في اختيار الدولة التي نتأثر بأفكارها، وفي اختيار الجهات والحكومات التي نعمل وفق برامجها، وفي تلقّي الأموال من دون الحاجة الى شروحات أو توضيحات أو تبريرات.

لكن مهلاً. هل تعتقدون أنكم إذا رفعتم صوت صراخكم فستوقفون عملية فضحكم، أو أن ذبابكم الإلكتروني قادر على غسلكم من عار التآمر على أبناء بلدكم والمشاركة في ارتكاب أفظع الجرائم في حقهم، والتورط في أكبر عملية إعداد لأكبر عدوان وحشي يعدّ له الغرب على لبنان، أو أن كل برامجكم عن محاربة الفساد والدفاع عن الحريات ستؤهلكم لقيادة البلد… اللهم إلا إذا كان ارتفاع معنوياتكم سببه رأفة «أهل الأمر» بكم، أو لأنكم تشعرون بـ«وهم القوة» لأن مموّليكم في عواصم القبح قد أشهروا علاقتهم مع العدو؟

مشكلتكم أنكم مجرد صبية. لكن لم يتح لكم اللعب في أحياء طبيعية. لذا لا تجيدون الركل ولا حتى السباب. كل ما تعرفون القيام به، هو تقمّص شخصية الرجل الأبيض الذي حبذا لو تجيدون سماعه في تقييم أحوالكم كمجرد فقراء العقل وحقيري الأنفس!

البناء
صيدا تصوّب البوصلة

في خطوة غير عاديّة رغم كونها تعبيراً هو الأقرب لتاريخ هذه المدينة العريقة في نضالها الوطني والقومي، فصيدا هي ذات موقع وبصمة في كل تاريخ النضال لأجل فلسطين وهي عرين المناضل الوطني والقومي الشهيد معروف سعد ومن بعده نجله الشهيد مصطفى سعد، لكن السياق السياسي الراهن يجعل الموقف الاحتجاجيّ الفاعل الذي عطل زيارة السفيرة الأميركية الى بلدية صيدا ذا قيمة مختلفة، والإعلان عن إلغاء الزيارة من السفارة الأميركية لا تعوّضه صورة للسفيرة من القلعة البحريّة في ظل العواصف لمجرد القول إنها قبلت التحدّي وهي تعلم أن التحدّي كان ينتظرها وهربت.

قيمة الحدث بزاويتين جديدتين، الأولى أنه في زمن العقوبات الأميركية وانقسام الوسط السياسيّ بأغلبيته بين نصفين، نصف يتأقلم مع السياسات الأميركية ونصف يتفادى الظهور في الصفوف الأمامية للمواجهة، هذا بمعزل عن الذين يمثلون فرق التطبيل والتزمير للسياسات الأميركية، والاعتقاد السائد بأن الذين يقفون خارج كل ألوان هذا السياق جذرياً هم حكر على لون طائفي وعقائدي يتوسطه حزب الله، فتأتي المدينة الجنوبية التي كانت دائماً تمنح المقاومة بعدها الوطني والقومي بانتمائها الطائفي المختلف لتؤكد موقعها كعاصمة للمقاومة وتُعيد الكرة وتقول إن ليس للمواجهة مع السياسات الأميركية لوناً طائفياً.

الزاوية الثانية هي أن الذين قادوا الحراك بوجه السفيرة الأميركية لا ينتمون الى الخط العقائديّ الذي يمثله حزب الله، أي الخط الإسلامي، بل إنهم لا ينتمون الى أي من المجموعات الحزبية الكبرى التي تتصدّر المشهد الصيداوي، فالمجموعة التي نظمت التحرك هي مجموعة يساريّة قوميّة من الحزب الديمقراطي الشعبي الذي يمتلك في صيدا قاعدة نضالية متجذّرة وله حضور مميز في الحراك الصيداوي الذي مثل حضور صيدا في انتفاضة 17 تشرين ومن حوله مجموعات يسارية بعضها ينتمي للحزب الشيوعيّ وبعضها للتنظيم الشعبيّ الناصريّ.

نموذج حراك صيدا كما ظهر أمس يصوّب البوصلة الوطنية، في الرسالة التي يحملها للأميركيين، الذين ربما توهّموا أنهم نجحوا بترويض النخب اللبنانية والشباب اللبناني وهم يستقبلون عشرات نشطاء جماعات المنظمات «المدنية» طالبة التمويل، ومثلهم من الساسة التقليديين، وكذلك يصوّب الحراك الصيداويّ البوصلة في شأن الحراك نفسه فيقدّم نموذجاً لقيادة شعبيّة ميدانيّة فاعلة في الحراك تدرك حجم الترابط بين النضال لأجل التغيير وبين التمسك بخيار المقاومة.

مقالات ذات صلة

As His Extradition Trial Drags on, Media and Rights Groups Are Still Ignoring Julian Assange

By Alan Macleod

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Many mainstream rights groups and media organizations have a mixed history when it comes to opposing Washington’s agenda. The case of Julian Assange has been no exception.

The extradition case of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange continues in London. The U.S. government is indicting the Australian living on the other side of the world under its own Espionage Act, with the case widely seen as setting an important precedent for freedom of speech and of the media worldwide.

Yet as the case reaches its pinnacle, a number of press freedom groups have gone silent on the matter. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has not mentioned Assange in months, on either its website or its Twitter account. London-based PEN International has only one article this year on the Australian and appears to have gone quiet since July. The CPJ has also refused to include him among its list of jailed journalists, arguing that Wikileaks’ role is more that of a publisher. While this could be debatable, the omission of by far the most famous and influential of the world’s 248 imprisoned media figures could be seen as a politically calculated decision.

Big media outlets seem just as uninterested in the U.S. government’s attempts to capture the man who released hundreds of thousands of documents detailing American war crimes, including the deliberate killing of two Reuters journalists. The New York Times, for instance, has published only two articles on the subject, and nothing in eleven days. But the Times’ coverage is better than most outlets, with nothing whatsoever in CNN, and MSNBC’s entire coverage amounting to one sentence, which discussed the DNC hacks, but not the hearing.

To be fair to the media, the conditions the U.K. government has set for the case make it absurdly difficult for journalists to follow. The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that public access is highly restricted, while only a small handful of journalists are allowed into the courtroom every day. Journalists wishing to watch live proceedings must register as journalists and log in between exactly 9:30 and 9:40 a.m. If they miss the time, they cannot access the session, and if they disconnect at any time, even because of a momentary lapse in wifi, they are shut out of the system. Journalists have complained throughout Assange’s cases of poor connections and an inability to hear anything during proceedings. That has not stopped the committed, however, with smaller organizations continuing to report the proceedings live.

In recent days the argument between the prosecution and the defense has revolved around Assange’s mental state. A psychiatrist on the U.S.’ government’s side told the Old Bailey yesterday that he believes Assange to be a “resilient” character with only “mild clinical depression” and would therefore be able to “resist any suicidal impulse” were he to be sent to the U.S. Assange is facing up to 175 years in a Colorado supermax jail, sometimes described as one of the few blacksites on American soil. Inmates at the center are regularly force fed and are barred from sharing their stories.

On the other hand, a doctor who treated him while he was forced to live in the Ecuadorian embassy in London stressed her dismay at his deterioration while being held in Belmarsh Prison. “I think Mr. Assange is at very high risk of completing a suicide if he were to be extradited,” she told the judge.

FILE – In this Sunday, June 16, 2013 file photo, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, left, appears with Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, file)

The Assange case has enormous ramifications for the future of press freedom. The government has included a great many standard journalistic procedures — such as protecting sources’ names, using encrypted files, and encouraging sources to leak more to them — among its reasons for indictment. This, many have argued, would essentially criminalize investigative journalism. Trevor Timm, a co-founder of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, told the courtroom that if Assange is prosecuted, then every journalist who has possessed a secret or leaked file — the lifeblood of the industry — could be charged.

Speaking to German filmmakers, ex-CIA Director Leon Panetta was remarkably blunt about the U.S.’ goal: “All you can do is hope you can ultimately take action against those that were involved in revealing that information so you can send a message to others not to do the same thing,” he said, strongly implying that the indictment is politically motivated and a warning to others who might challenge the empire.The Cost of ResistanceWhere will Julian Assange end up if his extradition is successful and Roger Hallam and the end of the revolutionary initiative.

Unfortunately, many of the mainstream rights groups that the world relies on to lead on matters of importance have a mixed history when it comes to directly opposing Washington’s agenda. Human Rights Watch (HRW), for instance, carried water for the U.S.-backed coup in Bolivia last year, its director, Kenneth Roth, describing it as a “transitional moment” and an “uprising,” rather than the manifestly more appropriate word, “coup.” HRW also described the new military government’s law giving all security forces complete immunity from prosecution merely a “problematic decree,” rather than a license to massacre, which is exactly what they did immediately.

HRW has not discussed Assange for nearly 18 months, the most recent result on its website dated May 2019 (although this was a clear defense of his rights). Amnesty International, on the other hand, has forcefully condemned the U.S. attempt and has been repeatedly blocked in its attempts to have its fair trial monitors enter the courtroom. “This hearing is the latest worrying salvo in a full-scale assault on the right to freedom of expression,” said Amnesty’s Europe Director, Nils Muižnieks.

Julian Assange trial: the mask of Empire has fallen

Julian Assange trial: the mask of Empire has fallen

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September 18, 2020

By Pepe Escobar with permission from the author and first posted at Asia Times

The concept of “History in the making” has been pushed to extremes when it comes to the extraordinary public service being performed by historian, former UK diplomat and human rights activist Craig Murray.

Murray – literally, and on a global level – is now positioned as our man in the public gallery, as he painstakingly documents in vivid detail what could be defined as the trial of the century as far as the practice of journalism is concerned: the kangaroo court judging Julian Assange in Old Bailey, London.

Let’s focus on three of Murray’s reports this week – with an emphasis on two intertwined themes: what the US is really prosecuting, and how Western corporate media is ignoring the court proceedings.

Here, Murray reports the exact moment when the mask of Empire fell, not with a bang, but a whimper:

“The gloves were off on Tuesday as the US Government explicitly argued that all journalists are liable to prosecution under the Espionage Act (1917) for publishing classified information.” (italics mine).

“All journalists” means every legitimate journalist, from every nationality, operating in any jurisdiction.

Interpreting the argument, Murray added, “the US government is now saying, completely explicitly, in court, those reporters could and should have gone to jail and that is how we will act in future. The Washington Post, the New York Times, and all the “great liberal media” of the US are not in court to hear it and do not report it (italics mine), because of their active complicity in the “othering” of Julian Assange as something sub-human whose fate can be ignored. Are they really so stupid as not to understand that they are next?

Err, yes.”

The point is not that self-described paladins of “great liberal media” are stupid. They are not covering the charade in Old Bailey because they are cowards. They must keep their fabled “access” to the bowels of Empire – the kind of “access” that allowed Judith Miller to “sell” the illegal war on Iraq in countless front pages, and allows CIA asset and uber-opportunist Bob Woodward to write his “insider” books.

Nothing to see here

Previously, Murray had already detailed how “the mainstream media are turning a blind eye. There were three reporters in the press gallery, one of them an intern and one representing the NUJ. Public access continues to be restricted and major NGOs, including Amnesty, PEN and Reporters Without Borders, continue to be excluded both physically and from watching online.”

Murray also detailed how “the six of us allowed in the public gallery, incidentally, have to climb 132 steps to get there, several times a day. As you know, I have a very dodgy ticker; I am with Julian’s dad John who is 78; and another of us has a pacemaker.”

So why is he “the man in the public gallery”? “I do not in the least discount the gallant efforts of others when I explain that I feel obliged to write this up, and in this detail, because otherwise the vital basic facts of the most important trial this century, and how it is being conducted, would pass almost completely unknown to the public. If it were a genuine process, they would want people to see it, not completely minimize attendance both physically and online.”

Unless people around the world are reading Murray’s reports – and very few others with much less detail – they will ignore immensely important aspects plus the overall appalling context of what’s really happening in the heart of London. The main fact, as far as journalism is concerned, is that Western corporate media is completely ignoring it.

Let’s check the UK coverage on Day 9, for instance.

There was no article in The Guardian – which cannot possibly cover the trial because the paper, for years, was deep into no holds barred smearing and total demonization of Julian Assange.

There was nothing on The Telegraph – very close to MI6 – and only a brief AP story on the Daily Mail.

There was a brief article in The Independent only because one of the witnesses, Eric Lewis, is one of the directors of the Independent Digital News and Media Ltd which publishes the paper.

For years, the process of degrading Julian Assange to sub-human level was based on repeating a bunch of lies so often they become truth. Now, the conspiracy of silence about the trial does wonders to expose the true face of Western liberal “values” and liberal “democracy”.

Daniel Ellsberg speaks

Murray provided absolutely essential context for what Daniel “Pentagon Papers” Ellsberg made it very clear in the witness stand.

The Afghan War logs published by WikiLeaks were quite similar to low-level reports Ellsberg himself had written about Vietnam. The geopolitical framework is the same: invasion and occupation, against the interests of the absolute majority of the invaded and occupied.

Murray, illustrating Ellsberg, writes that “the war logs had exposed a pattern of war crimes: torture, assassination and death squads. The one thing that had changed since Vietnam was that these things were now so normalized they were classified below Top Secret.”

This is a very important point. All the Pentagon Papers were in fact Top Secret. But crucially, the WikiLeaks papers were not Top Secret: in fact they were below Top Secret, not subject to restricted distribution. So they were not really sensitive – as the United States government now alleges.

On the by now legendary Collateral Murder video, Murray details Ellsberg’s argument: “Ellsberg stated that it definitely showed murder, including the deliberate machine gunning of a wounded and unarmed civilian. That it was murder was undoubted. The dubious word was “collateral”, which implies accidental. What was truly shocking about it was the Pentagon reaction that these war crimes were within the Rules of Engagement. Which permitted murder.”

The prosecution cannot explain why Julian Assange withheld no less than 15,000 files; how he took a lot of time to redact the ones that were published; and why both the Pentagon and the State Dept. refused to collaborate with WikiLeaks. Murray: “Ten years later, the US Government has still not been able to name one single individual who was actually harmed by the WikiLeaks releases.”

Prometheus Bound 2.0

President Trump has made two notorious references to WikiLeaks on the record: “I love WikiLeaks” and “I know nothing about WikiLeaks”. That may reveal nothing on how a hypothetical Trump 2.0 administration would act if Julian Assange was extradited to the US. What we do now is that the most powerful Deep State factions want him “neutralized”. Forever.

I felt compelled to portray Julian Assange’s plight as Prometheus Bound 2.0. In this poignant post-modern tragedy, the key subplot centers on a deadly blow to true journalism, in the sense of speaking truth to power.

Julian Assange continues to be treated as an extremely dangerous criminal, as his partner Stella Moris describes it in a tweet.

Craig Murray will arguably enter History as the central character in a very small chorus warning us all about the tragedy’s ramifications.

It’s also quite fitting that the tragedy is also a commentary on a previous era that featured, unlike Blake’s poem, a Marriage of Hell and Hell: GWOT and OCO (Global War on Terror, under George W. Bush, and Overseas Contingency Operations under Barack Obama).

Julian Assange is being condemned for revealing imperial war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet in the end all that post-9/11 sound and fury signified nothing.

It actually metastasized into the worst imperial nightmare: the emergence of a prime, compounded peer competitor, the Russia-China strategic partnership.

“Not here the darkness, in this twittering world” (T.S. Eliot, Burnt Norton). An army of future Assanges awaits.

Discussion of Wikileaks or any “Hacked Information” Banned Under New YouTube Rules

Snowden Assange

By Alan Macleod

Source

YouTube’s decision to ban discussion of hacked information on its platform is unlikely to improve election integrity in the US, it will, however, continue to tilt the balance in favor of established corporate-funded outlets like Fox News and CNN.

Social media giant YouTube announced yesterday a host of new measures it says are aimed at preventing any interference in the upcoming presidential elections. Chief among the list it wrote on its blog, is “removing content that contains hacked information, the disclosure of which may interfere with democratic processes, such as elections and censuses.” An example it gives, would be deleting “videos that contain hacked information about a political candidate.”

It also promised to “raise up authoritative voices” when it comes to current events and politics by changing its algorithm to show users more credible channels and “reduce the spread of harmful misinformation and borderline content.” Example channels that produce authoritative content, it tells readers, includes Fox News and CNN. It also noted it would expand information panels underneath videos.

There are a number of reasons this new policy could concern users of its platform. Firstly, the great majority of leaked information — the lifeblood of investigative journalism — is anonymous. Often, like in the cases of Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning or Reality Winner, whistleblowers face serious consequences if their names become attached to documents exposing government or corporate malfeasance. But without a name to go with a document, the difference between leaked data and hacked data is impossible to define. Thus, powerful people and organizations could claim data was hacked, rather than leaked, and simply block all discussion of the matter on the platform. Hearing the news, some feared already existing content from investigative journalists would be subject to removal under the new guidelines.

YouTube’s choice of Fox News and CNN as reliable sources might also raise eyebrows in some quarters. According to the latest Reuters Institute Digital News Report, fewer than half of all Americans trust the two networks (Fox at 42 percent and CNN at 47 percent). And a new study from Gallup/Knight Foundation finds that fewer than a third of the country has a favorable view of the media more generally, including only 19 percent of those under thirty (YouTube’s prime demographic). Many go to the platform precisely because it offers alternative and more diverse opinions to corporate-dominated radio, print and television. But YouTube is now funneling them back towards those same sources.

The 2016 presidential election was colored by Wikileaks’ release of the Podesta emails, discussion of which would be banned under YouTube’s new rules. The Hillary Clinton campaign alleges the emails were hacked from Podesta’s computer. The published communications, the authenticity of which is not in doubt, informed the country of the machinations of the Democratic Party, how it tipped the electoral scales in favor of Clinton and against Bernie Sanders in the primary, how Clinton stated to Wall Street that she had a “public” and a “private” position on regulation, insinuating she was lying to the nation, how representatives of Qatar wanted to meet with her husband Bill for “five minutes” to present him with a $1 million check for his birthday, and how her own staff held her in contempt. The emails, Clinton contends, swung the election from her to Trump. If this is the case, the decision to ban all discussion of them would have fundamentally altered the democratic process.

If YouTube’s actions seem drastic, the Australian state of Queensland introduced laws yesterday that made it illegal to publish allegations of corruption against any politician during election season. Those found guilty would be punished with a six-month jail sentence and a fine of nearly U.S.$5,000. After a public outcry, the law was overturned after only 24 hours.

While misinformation online is a problem, there exist other, more serious threats to electoral integrity. President Trump, who said that Republicans would never get into power again if everybody voted, told Fox Business this week that he is actively withholding funds from the U.S. Postal Service in order to undermine the election to his benefit. “They need that money in order to make the Post Office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” he said. “But if they don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting, because they’re not equipped to have it.” Add decades of gerrymandering and a campaign of voter suppression that has seen over 1,200 polling stations across the South, primarily in black neighborhoods, and Trump might be able to overcome his polling deficit and beat Biden.

YouTube’s decision to ban discussion of hacked information on its platform is unlikely to significantly improve political discourse or election integrity in the United States. It will, however, continue to tilt the balance in favor of established corporate-funded outlets, to the detriment of new, alternative voices.

Report: OPCW Leaks Show US Cover-Up of Illegal Syria Bombing

Report: OPCW Leaks Show US Cover-Up of Illegal Syria Bombing

By Staff, Agencies

Leaked documents from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons [OPCW] show that the administration of US President Donald Trump bombed Syria in 2018 on false grounds and pressured officials at the chemical weapons watchdog to cover it up, an American weekly magazine reports.

Analyzing the leaks, The Nation reported on Friday that the OPCW had manipulated the original report on the alleged chemical attack in the city of Douma near the capital Damascus on April 7, 2018.

The US and its allies were quick to blame the incident on the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Damascus, however, said that no chemical attack happened and that the incident was staged by foreign intelligence agencies to pressure the government in the face of army advances against foreign-backed terrorists.

One week after the Douma incident, the US, Britain and France launched a coordinated missile attack against sites and research facilities near Damascus and Homs with the purported goal of paralyzing the Syrian government’s capability to produce chemicals.

In March 2019, the OPCW concluded in its final report that there are “reasonable grounds” to believe that a chemical weapons attack occurred in Douma and that “the toxic chemical was likely molecular chlorine.”

But, subsequent internal OPCW documents, including a trove published by WikiLeaks, revealed that the Douma investigators’ initial report had reached different conclusions from their organization’s published version.

According to the report, the leaks reveal that senior OPCW officials “reedited” the Douma investigators’ original report, “removed or misrepresented” key facts and rewrote conclusions in a bid to support the allegation that a chlorine gas attack had occurred in Douma.

“Yet the team’s initial report did not conclude that a chemical attack occurred, and left open the possibility that victims were killed in a ‘non-chemical related’ incident,” it added.

The report also referred to a toxicology review which found that observed symptoms of the civilians in Douma, particularly the rapid onset of excessive frothing, as well as the concentration of victims filmed in the apartment building so close to fresh air, “were inconsistent with exposure to chlorine, and no other obvious candidate chemical causing the symptoms could be identified.”

It further said chemical tests of the samples collected in Douma showed that chlorine compounds were, in most cases, “detected at what amounted to trace quantities in the parts-per-billion range” and that they could have resulted from “contact with household products such as bleach or come from chlorinated water or wood preservatives.”

The author of the initial POCW report protested the revisions in an e-mail, saying the altered version “misrepresents the facts,” thereby “undermining its credibility.”

After the e-mail of protest, a US government delegation met with members of the investigation team in an attempt to convince them that the Syrian government had committed a chemical attack with chlorine.

Veteran reporter Jonathan Steele said the Douma team saw the meeting as “unacceptable pressure and a violation of the OPCW’s declared principles of independence and impartiality.”

Meanwhile, the OPCW’s final report claimed that gas cylinders found in Douma likely came from Syrian military aircraft, but an unpublished engineering study found that the cylinders were manually placed.

“The OPCW leadership has yet to offer a substantive explanation for why they excluded critical findings and radically altered the original report. Instead, it has denigrated the two members of the Douma fact-finding mission team who challenged the manipulation of their investigation,” The Nation reported.

Ian Henderson and another unnamed OPCW inspector are the whistleblowers who challenged the whitewash at the chemical weapons watchdog.

OPCW Director General Fernando Arias claimed that the pair had committed “deliberate and premeditated breaches of confidentiality.”

A third OPCW official, who was speaking on the condition of anonymity, said he was “horrified” by the “abhorrent…mistreatment” of the pair.

“I fully support their endeavors,” he added. “They are in fact trying to protect the integrity of the organization which has been hijacked and brought into shameful disrepute.”

“The possibility that the United States may have bombed Syria based on falsehoods – and pressured a global investigative body to grant that intervention legitimacy after the fact –should break the media blockade. So too should the fact that it was exposed by whistleblowers who face risk for speaking out,” The Nation reported.

Former OPCW head Jose Bustani said, “The convincing evidence of irregular behavior in the OPCW investigation of the alleged Douma chemical attack confirms doubts and suspicions I already had.”

“The picture is certainly clearer now, although very disturbing,” he added, expressing hope that the outcry over the Douma leaks “will catalyze a process by which the [OPCW] can be resurrected to become the independent and non-discriminatory body it used to be.”

Journalist Julian Assange Charged with New American Indictment

By Leon Tressell

Source

On 24 June a US Federal Grad Jury issued a second superseding indictment against Journalist Julian Assange.

The new indictment incorporates the 18 charges from the first indictment and seeks to ‘broaden the scope of the conspiracy’ and asserts that Assange and Wikileaks tried to recruit hackers for the purpose of stealing secret documents from the US government.

Thirteen of the 49 page indictment are devoted to Assange’s efforts to recruit ‘Anonymous’ hackers. At one conference Assange is alleged to have encouraged hackers to join the CIA and then use their position to steal top secret documents.

It also alleges that Assange cajoled, encouraged and assisted Chelsea Manning in ‘stealing’ hundreds of thousands of secret government documents relating to the Iraq and Afghan wars as well as diplomatic cables and Guantanamo Bay detainee assessments.

The icing on the cake of this new indictment are the claims that Assange wilfully revealed the ‘name of Human Sources and Created a Grave and Imminent Risk to Human Life’ through publishing ‘stolen’ secret documents. The tally of secret documents that Wikileaks published includes 75,000 Afghan war reports, 400,000 Iraq war reports, 800 Guantanamo Bay detainee assessments and 250,000 US diplomatic cables.

The new indictment alleges that Wikileaks published documents that revealed the names of various collaborators working with US military and intelligence agencies deliberately putting their lives in danger.

The new indictment also tries to make the help that Wikileaks gave NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden a criminal offence. Never mind the fact that the FBI relied upon paid informants such as ‘convicted conman, and sex criminal Sigurdur Thordarson’ to make up bogus claims against Assange. According to WikiLeaks Thordarson is one of the star witnesses for new indictment from the US Department of Justice.

The timing of this new indictment is suspicious. Trump is trailing in numerous polls due to his disastrous handling of the Covid-19 pandemic that has left over 120,000 Americans dead and caused trillions of dollars worth of economic damage. Is the new indictment a pathetic attempt to try and steer the news away from the storm of negative press encircling the White House?

The Freedom of the Press Foundation has commented:

“The Trump DOJ’s new Assange indictment has all the same problems as the old one. Source communication and publishing are not crimes. They didn’t add any new charges. They didn’t really change any old ones. And the using the Espionage Act is beyond the pale.’’

Julian Assange’s extradition trial does not resume until 7 September. Further outbreaks of the virus could put a spoke in that judicial frame up by the British government. Yet it appears the entire British political class including the so called opposition Labour Party will do nothing to try and prevent Assange’s extradition. Its new leader Keir Starmer, a former human rights barrister, supports the extradition process.

Pulitzer prize winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, whose reports revealed the global surveillance operations of the US and UK, has noted the connivance of British and American politicians and media of all political colours with Trump’s war on whistle blowers:

“The Trump DOJ’s attempt to imprison Julian Assange for working with his source to publish classified documents that exposed US war crimes is the most severe US threat to press freedom since 2016. It’s sickening to watch so many journalists ignore it, & so many liberals cheer it: ‘’

Kevin Gosztlioa of the Shadow Proof news outlet has written a detailed expose of the new indictment. He conclusion declares:

“While the conspiracy charge includes sensational claims of collaboration with hackers, it is no less of a political charge than the seventeen Espionage Act offences Assange faces for publishing information.

The additional sections in the indictment represent an attempt to give the illegitimate prosecution a greater veneer of criminality. Unfortunately, it does not take much to scrape it off and expose the contempt for press freedom that still lies behind this vindictive prosecution.’’

Ordinary people around the world must step up their efforts to secure the release of journalist Julian Assange. If extradited to the US he would face a show trial that would resemble the worst excesses of Stalin and Hitler’s courtrooms in the 1930s.

The extradition of Julian Assange by the crisis ridden American empire sends a clear warning to anyone who has thoughts about investigating or revealing US war crimes. It represents a threat to investigative journalists and anti war activists who challenge the bloody rule of American capital which will not go down without a fight.

The persecution of Julian Assange reveals a certain desperation on the part of the American ruling class. However, it won’t solve any of the social, economic and political problems facing American capitalism which is in a state of deep crisis.

Syrian ‘Regime Change’ Architect: William Roebuck, US Ambassador of Destruction

By Steven Sahiounie

Global Research, May 06, 2020

Since 2006, William Roebuck, a US Diplomat, has been working toward ‘regime change’ in Syria at any cost. The destruction of Syria, hundreds of thousands of deaths and injuries, and the migration of one-third of the population have been the price of the US policy under Roebuck’s tenure.  The ultimate goal of ‘regime change’ has never been about greater freedoms, democracy, or human rights for Syrians, but has been with the single target spelled out by Roebuck in 2006: to break the relationship between Iran and Syria. 

William Roebuck, US Ambassador ‘to the Kurds in Syria’

William Roebuck is a 27 year veteran of the US State Department, having served under Presidents Bush, Obama, and currently Trump.  His current title is Deputy Special Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. He is a former US Ambassador to Syria and Bahrain.  He has served in the US embassies in Iraq and chargé d’affaires in Libya under Obama. Seymour M. Hersh wrote about the US Embassy in Libya and its role in arming the terrorists used by the US in Syria.  For the past several years, he has been based in Northeast Syria and managing the Kurds.

Roebuck designed the 2011 “Arab Spring” in Syria

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange revealed a plan concocted by William Roebuck, the former US Ambassador to Syria.  Wikileaks published US diplomatic cables, and chapter 10 of “The Wikileaks Files” concerns Roebuck’s cable sent on December 13, 2006.  Ambassador Roebuck wrote that the US should take action to try to destabilize the Syrian government by provoking it to overreact, both internally and externally. That plan was put into action in March 2011 at Deraa, where armed terrorists were interspersed among unarmed civilians in street protests. The terrorists were provoking the police and security forces by shooting at them, as well as shooting unarmed civilians which were blamed on the security forces.

The cables prove that ‘regime change’ had been the goal of US policy in Syria since 2006 and that the US promoted sectarianism in support of its policy, which built the foundation for the sectarian conflict which resulted in massive bloodshed. Roebuck advocated for exploiting Syria’s relationship with Iran, which makes Syria vulnerable to Israeli airstrikes. Roebuck advised that the US should destabilize the Syrian government by promoting sectarian divisions between Sunni and Shia, which at the time was not an issue in Syria, which is a secular government and a tolerant society. By promoting sectarian conflict, which he had observed in the oil-rich Arab Gulf monarchies, Roebuck was crafting the destruction of Syrian society.  The ultimate US goal in Syria was to destabilize the Syrian government by violent means, resulting in a change of government, and the new government would be pro-Israeli, and anti-Iranian.

Roebuck’s memo leaked

In November 2019 an internal memo written on October 31 by Roebuck was leaked to the press. He criticized Trump for failing to stop Turkey from invading the Northeast of Syria. “Turkey’s military operation in northern Syria, spearheaded by armed Islamist groups on its payroll, represents an intentioned-laced effort at ethnic cleansing,” Mr. Roebuck wrote, calling the abuses “what can only be described as war crimes and ethnic cleansing.”Empowering Terrorism to “Stop” Terrorism: America’s Foreign Policy in Syria Summed Up in Three Headlines

Roebuck praised the SDF as a reliable partner acting as guards to keep US troops safe while they occupied Syria illegally, to steal the Syrian oil, which is to be used to support the SDF, instead of the Pentagon payroll.

Two is the company, but three is a crowd

The US state department has a Syrian trio: William Roebuck, and the special representative for Syria engagement, James Jeffrey. Joel Rayburn is a deputy assistant secretary for Levant Affairs and special envoy for Syria.

Iraqi and Syrian Kurdish officials are often confused as to which US officials are in charge on any given issue, and whether their policies were personally driven, or reflected US foreign policy directives. Many analysts agree that the US foreign policy on Syria is a confusing mess.

Roebuck pushes the Syrian Kurds to unite

The Kurdish National Council (KNC) and the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) have begun direct talks which US diplomat William Roebuck has promoted. For the last two years, he has been working with the Syrian Kurds.  The goal is to unite all Kurdish parties in Syria in one body, which could be part of the UN peace talks in Geneva to end the Syrian conflict.  The KNC and PYD have had serious disagreements over the years.

The KNC is part of the Istanbul-based ‘Syrian opposition’ and aligned with the Kurdish nationalist Massoud Barzani and his Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in Iraq.  The KNC received criticism as being pro-Turkish after the Turkish Army invaded the Northeastern region of Syria.

The PYD is part of the political arm of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) who had been the US partner fighting ISIS.  PYD bases its political and organizational projects on the PKK’s ideology. The PKK is considered as an international terrorist group accused of thousands of deaths in Turkey over the decades.

The first direct negotiations between the KNC and PYD were held in early April at an illegal US military base near Hasakah, with William Roebuck, an SDF commander Mazlum Abdi in attendance.  Roebuck has met numerous times over the past three months with the KNC, trying to push the idea of unification among the Kurdish factions.

At an April 25 press conference in Qamishli, it was announced that Roebuck had presented a draft that called for a unified political vision for Syria.  After about four meetings, the two sides were in agreement on the following points: Syria is to be a federal, democratic, and pluralistic state; the current Syrian government in Damascus was not acceptable; the Kurdish northeast region was to be a political unit.  It was stressed that both parties were committed to resolving the Syrian crisis through the implementation of UN Resolution 2254, and the new Syrian constitution must recognize Kurdish national, cultural, and political rights.

The SDF and PYD do not have political representation in the Geneva talks because of Turkish opposition to their participation, given the fact that Turkey views the groups as terrorists.  Turkey rejects any project that would lead to Kurdish autonomous rule in Syria, which is the goal of the US. When Trump ordered the sudden withdrawal of US troops from the Northeast of Syria in October, the Kurdish leaders immediately turned to the Syrian government in Damascus to save them from extermination at the hands of the invading Turkish Army.  However, the US did not want the Kurds to be protected by Damascus. The US goal is ‘regime change’ using UN Resolution 2254 as their tool. To achieve that end, William Roebuck has continued to work with the Kurds of the Northeast and is now trying to get them united to be at the negotiating table in Geneva. The Kurds might unite, but they will always remain a small minority numbering only 7% of the population, but who are attempting to control 20% of the territory in Syria.  Will there be justice for the Syrian homeowners and landowners within the territory the Kurds call “Rojava”, who have been made homeless and destitute at the hands of the Kurds? Will the Syrians one day rise in a “Kurdish Spring” cleaning to regain their properties?

Ahed al-Hindi, a political analyst based in Washington, DC, told  Al-Monitor that the US goal to unify the Kurdish ranks in northeastern Syria is a part of a project designed to unify the entire Syrian north, including Idlib and the Kurdish Northeast.  The US goal is to prevent the Syrian government from access to the resources which could be used to rebuild Syria.

The next UN peace talks in Geneva

UN Special Envoy Geir O. Pedersen gave a UN Security Council briefing on the situation in Syria on April 29. He announced the agenda for the next session of the Constitutional Committee had been agreed between the co-chairs, and meetings in Geneva would resume as soon as the COVID-19 restrictions would allow. He continued to stress the importance of the current nationwide ceasefire, which was needed to combat and treat COVID-19.  He declared there is no military solution to the Syrian conflict, and the UN Security Council resolution 2254 must be used as the path to a political settlement that would be acceptable for the Syrian people while restoring the sovereignty, borders, and independence of Syria.

*

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This article was originally published on Mideast Discourse.

Steven Sahiounie is an award-winning journalist. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Highlights from the Assange Trial Thus Far

Eric Zuesse for The Saker Blog

February 26, 2020

Here are the most informative excerpts that I have noted from the best news-reporting from journalists who have been attending at the trial:

CRAIG MURRAY, “Day 2”:

For the defence, Mark Summers QC stated that the USA charges were entirely dependent on three factual accusations of Assange behviour:

1) Assange helped Manning to decode a hash key to access classified material.

Summers stated this was a provably false allegation from the evidence of the Manning court-martial.

2) Assange solicited the material from Manning

Summers stated this was provably wrong from information available to the public

3) Assange knowingly put lives at risk

Summers stated this was provably wrong both from publicly available information and from specific involvement of the US government.

In summary, Summers stated the US government knew that the allegations being made were false as to fact, and they were demonstrably made in bad faith. This was therefore an abuse of process which should lead to dismissal of the extradition request. …

This comprehensive account took some four hours and I shall not attempt to capture it here. I will rather give highlights. …

On 1) Summers at great length demonstrated conclusively that Manning had access to each material a) b) c) d) provided to Wikileaks without needing any code from Assange, and had that access before ever contacting Assange. …

After a brief break, Baraitser [the judge] came back with a real zinger. She told Summers that he had presented the findings of the US court martial of Chelsea Manning as fact. But she did not agree that her court had to treat evidence at a US court martial, even agreed or uncontested evidence or prosecution evidence, as fact. …

The bulk of Summers’ argument went to refuting behaviour 3), putting lives at risk. … Summers described at great length the efforts of Wikileaks with media partners over more than a year to set up a massive redaction campaign on the cables. He explained that the unredacted cables only became available after Luke Harding and David Leigh of the Guardian published the password to the cache as the heading to Chapter XI of their book, Wikileaks, published in February 2011. …

Summers read from the transcripts of telephone conversations as Assange and Harrison [both of Wikileaks] had attempted to convince US officials of the urgency of enabling source protection procedures – and expressed their bafflement as officials stonewalled them. This evidence utterly undermined the US government’s case and proved bad faith in omitting extremely relevant fact. It was a very striking moment.

CNN, Day 2:

Julian Assange tried to warn the US government that sensitive documents were to be leaked “imminently,” but was told to call back in a few hours, according to his lawyers during the second day of the WikiLeaks founder’s extradition hearing in London.

Assange personally warned the State Department that an encrypted database of 250,000 unredacted US diplomatic cables was about to be leaked in 2011, his lawyer Mark Summers told Woolwich Crown Court on Tuesday.

The cables included the identities of people — some deemed high risk — who had been in communication with the US.

Assange contacted officials after it became known that German newspaper Der Freitag had discovered the password to a database containing the unredacted files, Summers said.

The 48-year-old Australian, along with WikiLeaks editor Sarah Harrison, telephoned then-Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s emergency line to sound the alarm about the unredacted material, the court heard.

Assange personally warned: “I don’t understand why you’re not seeing the urgency in this… people’s lives are at risk,” according to Summers.

But he was told to call back in a few hours, said the lawyer.

CNN reached out to the State Department for a response, but had not received one at time of publishing.

BBC, Day 2:

Mark Summers QC, representing Mr Assange, told the hearing in London that Wikileaks had begun redacting a tranche of 250,000 leaked cables in November 2010, working with media partners around the world as well as the US government.

He said that in February 2011 the Guardian published a book about Wikileaks which contained a password to the unredacted documents.

He said it wasn’t until months later that it was discovered the password could be used to access the unredacted database, which was revealed by German news outlet Der Freitag on 25 August 2011.

On that day, Mr Assange called the White House and asked to speak to then secretary of state Hillary Clinton “as a matter of urgency” over fears the documents were about to be dumped online by third parties who had gained access, Mr Summers told the court. He was told to ring back in a few hours.

Mr Summers said Mr Assange had warned: “I don’t understand why you’re not seeing the urgency of this.

“Unless we do something, then people’s lives are put at risk.” …

Prosecutors argued on Monday that Mr Assange knowingly put hundreds of sources around the world at risk of torture and death by publishing the unredacted documents containing names or other identifying details.

But Mr Summers told the court that the US extradition request “boldly and brazenly” misrepresented the facts.

He said the US government, which was involved in the redaction process, knows “what actually occurred” which was “far from being a reckless, unredacted release”.

In response, James Lewis QC, representing the US government, told the court that Mr Assange “didn’t have to publish the unredacted cables”.

“He decided to do so on a widely followed and easily searchable website, knowing that it was dangerous to do so,” he added.

MY CLOSING NOTE:

I hope that subsequently will be revealed whether or not the U.S. Government’s statement that Wikileaks “didn’t have to publish the unredacted cables” is true. After Wikileaks gave the files to the media in the U.S. Government-accepted redacted version, a sequence of events occurred in which, it appears according to the Wilileaks allegations, the Guardian’s Luke Harding (who is a prominent neoconservative journalist) caused “security being compromised when the book was published in February 2011” as the Guardian’s book about Wikileaks was being published. Then Der Freitag took the next step, and used that key to open the lock, and obtain access to the unredacted file. Is the U.S. Government ignoring Assange’s intensive efforts to prohibit such a thing from happening? Is the U.S. Government ignoring Hillary Clinton’s role in this? Is Donald Trump protecting Ms. Clinton? Why would he be protecting her and trying to frame and destroy Assange? Why is the Government of UK, throughout this nearly ten-year-long matter, serving as the U.S. Government’s errand-boy? Is UK a democracy? Is U.S. a democracy?

Craig Murray’s report on the trial’s first day provides shocking evidence that Judge Baraitser is extremely prejudiced against Assange and for the Trump Administration. I strongly recommend his blog, as the best site covering this trial (and as one of the really great one-person blogs on international matters, along with the “Moon of Alabama”).

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

‘It Would be the End of Free Speech’: Protest Against Assange’s Extradition at Belmarsh Prison

Source

Today is the day a London court begins hearing on what looks to become (or at least precede) one of the defining cases of the decade – the extradition trial of Julian Assange. The WikiLeaks founder has found support from human rights advoctes from across the globe, including France’s Yellow Vest movement.

It’s chilly and windy in London, and Belmarsh Prison is definitely not the first place that comes to mind when you think of where to hang out.

But a small crowd of several dozen people, many clad in signature high-vis jackets, have come together at the nearby Woolwich Crown Court to demand freedom for Julian Assange. Some of them have spent a nippy night camped out outside the court; most arrived today.

Protesters are holding up banners reading, “Bent judges are killing Assange”, “Jail the war criminals, free Chelsea Manning”, and “No US extradition”.

The rally is organised by human rights campaigners, notably those from Reporters Without Borders and France’s Yellow Vest movement.

More

Julian Assange’s Attorney Speaks Out on the Hopes and Hazards of His Upcoming Trial in London on Feb. 24

By Chris AgeeMax BlumenthalGlen Ford, and Howie Hawkins

Global Research, February 21, 2020

CovertAction Magazine

Assange’s legal advisor Renata Avila joins Gray Zone investigative reporter Max Blumenthal, Black Agenda Report founder Glen Ford, and Green Party presidential candidate Howie Hawkins in Randy Credico’s acclaimed radio series, “Assange: Countdown to Freedom” – hosted by CovertAction Magazine with breaking news updates from Courage Foundation Director Nathan Fuller. Click here to listen or play the button below.

Click here

This is the seventh and latest episode in Credico’s ongoing radio exploration of the prosecution and persecution of the imprisoned WikiLeaks founder. Keep listening for late-breaking updates on the approaching extradition trial of Julian Assange in London.

You can listen to the prior episodes here:
Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6

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Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

History: How Britain Assisted the Soviet Union’s Fight Against Hitler

The original source of this article is CovertAction Magazine

Copyright © Chris AgeeMax BlumenthalGlen Ford, and Howie Hawkins, CovertAction Magazine, 2020

وثيقة سرّية سعودية: خطتان لإسقاط نظام ايران

Source

السعودية تواصل عنترياتها الدمويّة: إنّها نهاية الحوثيين... فاستمروا في دعمنا!

لم تُحقّق السعودية أهدافها وبات العالم مُحرجاً إزاء حجم الجرائم في اليمن (أ ف ب )

السعودية تواصل عنترياتها الدمويّة: إنّها نهاية الحوثيين… فاستمروا في دعمنا!

السعودية ليكس

الأخبار

الجمعة 4 تشرين الأول 2019

تواصل «الأخبار» نشر فصول الوثيقة السريّة التي أعدّها مستشارو ولي العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان، وتكشف خطط السعودية ووسائلها لشنّ حرب ذات مستويات متنوعة ضدّ طهران. وقد عرض السعوديون خططهم ومشاريعهم لمناهضة إيران، في أوائل سنة 2017، على فريق دونالد ترامب للتباحث بشأنها، ولتنسيق الجهود السعودية والأميركية في العمل على تطويرها. في الوثيقة التي حصلت عليها «الأخبار»، عرض جديد لطموحات حكام الرياض، ودليل إضافي على حجم المأزق في اليمن بعد أربع سنوات ونصف السنة على المعركة.

تسعى السعودية، كما تبيّن وثيقة «مواجهة السیاسات العدائیة للنظام الإیراني في المنطقة»، إلى توسيع ما تسمّيه «دائرة التعاون الاستراتيجي» مع الولايات المتحدة في مختلف ساحات الإقليم، لكن الاهتمام يتركّز على العمل المشترك مع واشنطن في اليمن. ولهذه الغاية، يضع المشروع على رأس قائمة التعاون، الذي يذكّر بأن «الرياض المشتري الأكبر من شركات التسليح الأميركية»، مَهمّة، «إنهاء التمرّد الحوثي» في اليمن.

في البداية، يذكّر مُعدّ الوثيقة بأن السعودية بدأت عملياتها العسكرية في اليمن لسببين:

الأول: هو أن «أي دولة في العالم لا تقبل بأن تكون على حدودها ميليشيات مسلحة بأسلحة ثقيلة وصواريخ بالستية وطائرات مقاتلة».
الثاني: «عدم القبول بالفوضى التي يحاول النظام (الإيراني) إشاعتها في المنطقة عبر ميليشياته».

تأتي على رأس قائمة التعاون مَهمّة «إنهاء التمرّد الحوثي» في اليمن

ومن ثم يجري استعراض جملة «إنجازات» للحملة السعودية العسكرية على اليمن لإقناع الأميركيين بجدوى استمرار هذه الحرب وضرورة توفير الدعم لها، بالقول:

– حقق التحالف السيطرة على 85 % من الأراضي اليمنية» (وإن كانت النسبة أقل، لكن الوثيقة تتجاهل سيطرة «أنصار الله» وحلفائها على العاصمة وأغلب المحافظات، والمناطق ذات الغالبية السكانية، فيما يسيطر التحالف على مساحات صحراوية شاسعة شبه خالية).

– منع الميليشيات الحوثية من استخدام الطائرات والأسلحة الثقيلة مثل المدرعات، وجزء كبير من منظومة الصواريخ أرض – أرض وعدد كبير من الدبابات. وحيث لم يعد لديهم الآن سوى الأسلحة المتوسطة والخفيفة وعدد غير معلوم من الصواريخ أرض – أرض المخبّأة»!

في الوثيقة التي تعود إلى عام 2017، لا ينسى السعوديون، قبل ذكر طلبات الدعم الأميركي، لائحة «معضلات» غريبة تواجههم في اليمن، وتبدو أطول من لائحة «الإنجازات». «غرابة» ما يرد فيها يعود إلى محاولة النظام السعودي إبعاد التهم الاعتيادية لحملته العسكرية في اليمن، ولصقها بصنعاء، كالاتهام بـ«استفادة التنظيمات الإرهابية (القاعدة، داعش) من الملاذ الآمن الذي توفره لها الميليشيات الحوثية» ليس هذا فحسب، إذ تتهم الوثيقة «الانقلابيين» بـ«اعتماد سياسة التجويع وحصار المدن» وكذلك «عرقلة جهود الإغاثة التي تقدمها قيادة التحالف بالتعاون مع المجتمع الدولي وسرقتهم للمواد الإغاثية».

كما ترد الشكاوى السعودية التالية:

– استمرار تدفق السلاح عبر ميناء الحديدة

استخدام الميليشيات المنشآت المدنية كالمستشفيات والمدارس ما يُصعّب من مَهمة قوات التحالف في استهداف تلك المواقع.

– ما تقوم به الميليشيات الحوثية من عرقلة لمسار العمل السياسي برفضها حضور جلسات التفاوض.

وتحت عنوان «الدعم الذي تحتاج إليه قوات التحالف»، يطلب المشروع السعودي «توفير معلومات استخبارية دقيقة» مبرراً طلبه بأن «قوات التحالف تراعي المعايير الدولية والإنسانية وتتبع إجراءات صارمة في عملية الاستهداف أثناء الضربات الجوية، فضلاً عن استخدامها لقذائف موجهة بدقة تفادياً لوقوع أضرار جانبية، الأمر الذي يتطلب جهوداً استخبارية جبّارة وتوفير معلومات بالغة الدقة». وتشمل الطلبات تقديم الدعم السياسي «أمام المجتمع الدولي تقديراً للدور الذي تقوم به قوات التحالف نيابة عن المجتمع الدولي لهدف إرساء الأمن والسلم العالمي». كذلك طلب «دعم المجتمع الدولي في إدانة الانقلابيين جرّاء استيلائهم على المواد الإغاثية وإساءة استخدامها وعرقلتهم للجهود الإغاثية التي تقدمها قيادة التحالف وعلى رأسها المملكة بالتعاون مع جميع المنظمات الدولية الإغاثية». ويطلب المشروع السعودي دعم الحل السياسي للأزمة اليمنية عبر دعم معركته ورؤيته للحل: «وفقاً لقرار مجلس الأمن 2216، والتأكيد على أهمية ممارسة مزيد من الضغوط على ميليشيات الحوثي لتنفيذ بنود القرارات الدولية المتعلقة بالشأن اليمني». وكما تبدأ الوثيقة بإيران، تختم بها، من خلال طلب دعم الأميركيين دولياً في «إدانة الدور الإيراني الداعم وتأثير ذلك على تعنت ميليشيات الحوثي من خلال دعمها العسكري والمالي ورفضها الانصياع لتنفيذ القرار الأممي 2216».

يطلب المشروع السعودي دعم المجتمع الدولي في حربه ضدّ اليمن

وتجدر الإشارة أخيراً إلى أن الحاكم السعودي، لدى صياغة هذا المشروع، أي بعد عامين من بدء الحرب على اليمن، يبدو واثقاً من جدوى الاستمرار حتى النهاية في المعركة. معركة يحاول المشروع تسويقها على أن السعوديّة تخوضها «نيابة عن المجتمع الدولي لهدف إرساء الأمن والسلام العالمي». وذلك مع إصرار كبير على أن ثمة «إنجازات» كبرى تحقّقت! علماً أن جردة بسيطة تكفي ليخلص المراقب إلى أن الرياض لم تحقق الحد الأدنى من الأهداف. فقد تطورت قوة صنعاء الصاروخية، إضافة الى سلاح الطائرات المسيّرة، وزادت كمّاً ونوعاً. كذلك خسرت الرياض أهم معاركها في الحُديدة، رغم الضوء الأخضر الأميركي. علماً أن الاهتمام الأميركي والغربي بالحرب على اليمن، تراجع إلى حدّه الأدنى بعد اغتيال الصحافي جمال خاشقجي. وبات العالم مُحرجاً إزاء حجم الجرائم، والوضع في اليمن الذي تقول عنه الأمم المتحدة بأنه أسوأ كارثة إنسانية يشهدها العالم. والجميع يقرّ اليوم بأن السعودية لم تقصف سوى المنشآت الاقتصادية والحيوية، كما أحكمت الحصار بحراً وجواً وبراً. إضافة إلى نقل المصرف المركزي إلى الجنوب.

دونالد ترامب يحبّ (أموال) السعودية

«كشّافة» السعودية تضرب في لبنان: المهمّة «إضعاف حزب الله»

هدف المبادرة إضعاف حزب الله داخليّاً وإقليميّاً ودوليّاً (هيثم الموسوي)

تواصل «الأخبار» نشر فصول الوثيقة المسرّبة التي أعدّها مستشارو ولي العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان، وتكشف خطط السعودية ووسائلها لشنّ حرب ذات مستويات متنوعة ضدّ طهران. وقد عرض السعوديون خططهم ومشاريعهم لمناهضة إيران، في أوائل سنة 2017، على فريق دونالد ترامب للتباحث بشأنها، ولتنسيق الجهود السعودية والأميركية في العمل على تطويرها. نتوقّف اليوم عن مُبادرة «إضعاف حزب الله في لبنان»، وهي مكتوبة بلغة تُشبه أفكار «حكم القناصل».

تتشكّل المبادرة من أربعة محاور معظمها جرت محاولات لتطبيقه. صحيح أنّ بعض هذه البنود اتّسم بخطورة كالتضييق الاقتصادي وتشديد المراقبة على تحويلات المغتربين، إلا أنّ بعضها الآخر يحوز على قدر عالٍ من الفكاهة، كقرار مواجهة حزب الله عبر إنشاء «مراكز كشفية معتدلة».

لا تحيد الرؤية السعودية ضد المقاومة في لبنان عن نظيرتيها الأميركية والإسرائيلية.

تلتحق بهما، مُقدّمةً نفسها أداةً لمواجهة حزب الله. في خطتها المُسماة «مواجهة عملاء إيران»، تنهل الوثيقة التي قدّمتها السعودية إلى الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، من أدبيات عبرية علنية لمواجهة «الحزب»، كما تُقدّم أفكاراً عدّة لـ«تطويق» المقاومة، «تصدف» أن تكون متطابقة مع المتطلبات الإسرائيلية.تطويق لبنان اقتصادياً واستهداف مصالحه عبر تشريع استهداف معابره الرئيسية بحجة سيطرة حزب الله عليها، أو تضييق الخناق على المغتربين وتحويلاتهم إلى البلد.

في لبنان، كما في إيران، تُقدّم السعودية نموذجاً لكرسي تستحق الجلوس عليه مع الأميركي والإسرائيلي، مع نُقطة إيجابية تعوّل عليها لبنانياً، وهي انخراطها القديم في السياسة الداخلية، واتكاؤها على علاقات متشعّبة محلية وخارجية تؤثّر على صنع القرار في بيروت.انطلاقاً من هذه الخلفية، كانت «مواجهة حزب الله في لبنان»، واحدة من المبادرتين اللتين وضعتهما الرياض، وشاركتهما مع الإدارة الأميركية، من ضمن الخطة التي أُطلقت عليها تسمية «مواجهة سياسات النظام الإيراني العدائية: مواجهة عملاء إيران».

هدف المبادرة حُدّد بـ«إضعاف حزب الله بشكل واضح وملموس داخلياً وإقليمياً ودولياً»، فالسعودية اعتقدت أنّها بتحقيقه تكون قد حقّقت تقدّماً على إيران.في الوثيقة التي وُضعت سنة 2017، تشرح السعودية برنامج العمل التفصيلي لـ«إضعاف» حزب الله، من خلال تحديد الخطوات الواجب القيام بها، والأدوات التي يجب الاستعانة بها، لبلوغ الهدف النهائي.

العديد من النقاط الواردة في خطّة العمل، تُساهم في فهم سياسة السعودية وتدلّ على تماهيها مع الرؤية الإسرائيلية في المنطقة.تتوزع الخطة على أربعة محاور: السياسي، الاقتصادي، الإعلامي، العسكري.

أولاً: المحور السياسيفي آذار الـ2016، صنّف مجلس التعاون الخليجي، وجامعة الدول العربية، حزب الله كمنظمة إرهابية. تبع القرار اجتماعٌ لمجلس الوزراء برئاسة الملك سلمان، في الشهر نفسه، مؤكّداً قرار «التعاون الخليجي»، نظراً «لاستمرار الأعمال العدائية التي يقوم بها أفراد تلك المليشيات، وما تُشكّله من انتهاك صارخ لسيادة دول المجلس وأمنها واستقرارها». هذا الحصار السياسي، كان من البنود الأولى التي وردت في المحور السياسي من الوثيقة: «تصنيف حزب الله بجناحيه العسكري والسياسي كمنظمة إرهابية، والعمل على استصدار قرارات بهذا الشأن في مجلس الأمن». بعد عام 2017، حاولت الدول العربية إدراج تصنيف حزب الله كـ«إرهابي» في بيانات القمم العربية، لكنّها ووجِهت باعتراض الوفد اللبناني عليه.هي أفكار لـ«تطويق» المقاومة، متطابقة مع المتطلبات الإسرائيليةوبالتعاون مع «المحاكم الأوروبية والدولية»، كشفت السعودية في الوثيقة عن اقتراحها رفع قضايا ضدّ حزب الله «وخاصة عن جرائمه في سوريا وفي الداخل اللبناني».

بعد تطويق الحزب إقليمياً ودولياً، يأتي دور «استقطاب التيارات السياسية المتحالفة معه وخاصة التيارات المسيحية (التيار الوطني الحر وتيار المردة)، مع العمل على الضغط على هذه التيارات من قِبل الدول الصديقة، وخاصة الولايات المتحدة وفرنسا».كذلك أوردت الوثيقة بنداً خاصاً لـ«دعم الشخصيات المؤثرة والمعتدلة داخل المكون الشيعي سياسياً ومالياً»، وذلك من خلال:-

التركيز على قاعدة الشباب الشيعي لخلق مجموعات معتدلة في فكرها.

– بذل مجهودات حقيقية لاستقطاب القيادات الشابة داخل حزب الله نفسه.إضافة إلى دعم الشخصيات المعارضة لحزب الله «من خلال دعمهم في الانتخابات النيابية لتتمكّن من الحصول على أغلبية برلمانية».

ثانياً: المحور الاقتصادينال المحور الاقتصادي حيّزاً من مبادرة «إضعاف حزب الله» على قاعدة «تجفيف موارده المادية، وإبعاده عن المرافق الحيوية» لذا تطرح الخطة «تشديد ومراقبة التحويلات المالية على لبنان».

عملياً، توقفت في 2016 التحويلات المالية من السعودية إلى لبنان، وفي 2017 رُفض تحويل الأموال إلى بيروت إلا بعد موافقة الكفيل وطلب مستندات والتحقق من مصادر الأموال.

بالتوازي مع مراقبة التحويلات المالية، فُرضت عقوبات أميركية على المصارف والمؤسسات «التي تُقدّم أيّ مساعدة لحزب الله، أو مقربين منه». وفي عامي 2015 و2016، انضمت السعودية إلى هذه الموجة عبر فرض عقوبات على اثنين من قياديي حزب الله، وتجميد أصولهما وحظر تعامل السعوديين معهما بتهمة أنّهما مسؤولان عن «عمليات إرهابية في أنحاء الشرق الأوسط». أما «الترهيب» الثاني، فتحذير وزارة الداخلية السعودية من التعامل مع حزب الله بأيّ شكل كان، مع التهديد باتّخاذ عقوبات مشدّدة بحق كل مواطن أو مُقيم يُظهر دعماً لـ«الحزب»، أو يُروج له، أو «يتبرّع» له.

الأداة الاقتصادية بعد العقوبات المباشرة وتطرحها السعودية في المبادرة، هي «الحدّ من سيطرة حزب الله على المنافذ الدولية (مطار بيروت الدولي، ميناء بيروت البحري) من خلال إجراءات ضغط، وتوظيف تأثير المملكة التجاري والسياحي»، مع التخطيط لإنشاء «مطار دولي بديل يكون شمالاً بحيث لا يخضع بأيّ حال لسيطرة حزب الله».

أما النقطة الثالثة الواردة في الشق الاقتصادي، فهي «تمويل المشاريع الصغيرة والمتوسطة لقطاع واسع من شباب الأعمال، وخاصة المكون الشيعي بهدف تحييد فئة كبيرة منهم، والذين يعتمدون على إعانة الحزب مادياً، مع خلق وظائف لهذه المشاريع مما يُساهم باستقطابهم أو إبعادهم عن الحزب».

ثالثاً: المحور الإعلاميتذكر الوثيقة أنّه يجب «دعم القنوات الإعلامية اللبنانية والتلفزيونية المعتدلة والوطنية المناهضة لسياسات حزب الله، والعمل معها على وضع سياسات لكشف تجاوزات الحزب وتوجيهاته العقائدية». وهذا الأمر ليس بالجديد على السياسات السعوديّة، حتّى قبل ولي العهد الحالي. فقد نشرت «الأخبار» قبل أربع سنوات، بالتعاون مع موقع «ويكيليكس» وثائق سرية لوزارة الخارجية السعودية.

تُظهر الوثائق أنّه في عام 2012 دفعت السعودية مليونَي دولار لمحطة (MTV) اللبنانيّة، شرط أن تكون بخدمة المملكة تقنياً وسياسياً («الأخبار»، 20/06/2015). وقد حاولت السعودية تطويع المؤسسة اللبنانية للإرسال، إنّما بوسيلة أخرى. فبحسب الوثائق نفسها، هُددت lbci بلَي ذراعها عبر شركة الإعلانات المتعاقدة معها (مجموعة الشويري الخاضعة للوصاية السعودية)، إذا «تمادت بمواقفها ضدّ المملكة» («الأخبار»، 22/06/2015).

رابعاً: المحور العسكريآخر المحاور في مستند «مواجهة حزب الله في لبنان» هو المحور العسكري حيث تتراوح بنوده بين تشديد الرقابة بالوسائل كافة على تهريب الأسلحة لحزب الله، وتفعيل دور قوات الأمم المتّحدة لتتمكّن من الاضطلاع بمراقبة الحدود البرية مع سوريا والحدود البحرية)، لكن الأهم بالنسبة لهم كان في ضرورة «إنشاء مراكز كشفية للشباب المعتدل لتدريبهم داخلياً وإمكانية ابتعاثهم في دورات خارجية ليكونوا لبنة لبناء المؤسسات العسكرية والأمنية مستقبلاً، ومواجهة حزب الله داخلياً إن لزم الأمر».

وتشدّد الوثيقة على أن الدعم السعودي للجيش اللبناني مشروط. وتقول الوثيقة إنه يمكن «تقوية الجيش اللبناني والمؤسسات الحكومية بعد التأكّد من خلو سيطرة الحزب عليها وتنظيفها بالكامل من عناصره».

تُشدّد الوثيقة على أن الدعم السعوديّ للجيش اللبناني مشروط وهنا تجدر الإشارة إلى أن «مملكة الخير» باشرت قبل سنة من كتابة الوثيقة بـ«معاقبة» الجيش واستخدامه ورقة لتصيفة حسابات سياسية.

ففي شباط 2016، أوقفت هبة بقيمة ثلاثة مليارات دولار لتسليحه. وامتنعت عن صرف ما تبقى من هبة المليار دولار لقوى الأمن الداخلي، بسبب «مواقف لبنان المعادية على المنابر الدولية والإقليمية، وعدم إدانة لبنان الاعتداء على سفارة السعودية في طهران مطلع 2016» («الأخبار»، 20/02/2016). وبحسب وكالة الأنباء السعودية، فإنّ القرار هو «نتيجة مواقف لبنانية مناهضة للمملكة في ظلّ مصادرة ما يُسمّى حزب الله لإرادة الدولة اللبنانية».

لا تنفصل طريقة التعاطي السعودية مع الهبتَين العسكريتين عن نظرتها العامة تجاه لبنان. نظرة دونية، تربط كلّ «مساعدة» له بثمن تقبضه. التعبير الأوضح عن ذلك، كان في 2017، حين قال وزير الداخلية السابق، نائب تيار المستقبل نهاد المشنوق، إنّ «المطلوب دفع ثمن سياسي للمملكة مقابل عودة الهبة المالية للجيش».مطاردة سياسية: ممنوع التحالف مع حزب اللهالعلاقة بين التيار الوطني الحر والسعودية، دلّت على فشل خطة الأخيرة.

تُفيد المعلومات أنّ الدولة الخليجية لم تكن مستاءة من انتخاب ميشال عون رئيساً للجمهورية، ولكنّها لم توافق على الترشيح، الذي تبنّته قوى أساسية في ما كان يُعرف بتحالف 14 آذار. وقد دُعي عون لزيارة السعودية في كانون الثاني 2017 (غاب عن استقباله ولي العهد محمد بن نايف وولي ولي العهد محمد بن سلمان)، إلا أنّ التضييق على عهد عون، بدأ في شباط، مع حديث الرئيس اللبناني إلى قناة CBC المصرية، عن ضرورة وجود سلاح المقاومة، طالما هناك أرض محتلة والجيش ليس قوياً كفاية ليُحاربها («الأخبار»، 13/02/2017).

انطلقت التهديدات بضرب النظام المصرفي اللبناني، وممارسة الضغوط السياسية على حلفاء حزب الله في الداخل. في تشرين الأول 2017، أرادت السعودية تشكيل حلف جديد يضم إلى جانب تيار المستقبل كلّاً من الحزب التقدمي الاشتراكي والكتائب والقوات اللبنانية. استُدعي ممثلون عن القوى الأربع إلى الرياض، فلم يُلبّي الدعوة إلا «الكتائب» و«القوات»، في حين أنّ جنبلاط اعتذر، مُبرّراً بأنّه «لا أستطيع تكرار التجارب الخاطئة».

بعد شهرٍ، في 4 تشرين الثاني، استُدعي الحريري على عجل إلى السعودية، حيث أُجبر على تلاوة استقالته («الأخبار»، 06/11/2017)، واعتُقل قبل أن «يُحرّر» في 18 الشهر نفسه (20/11/2017). لكن السعودية استمرت في الضغط مع اقتراب الانتخابات النيابية في 2018.

وفي آذار من العام المذكور، استُدعي الحريري مُجدّداً إلى الرياض للطلب منه تشكيل جبهة ضدّ حزب الله بعد الانتخابات النيابية («الأخبار»، 10/03/2018)، مع ترك «هامشٍ» له هو علاقته برئيس الجمهورية.

أما عون فقد تعرّض لضغوط هائلة لفكّ تحالفه مع حزب الله في الانتخابات من دون أن يرضخ لها.

عزّز التيار العوني وقوى 8 آذار من وجودهما بعد الانتخابات، فعُدّلت «أدوات» الخطة السعودية. طلبت بدايةً من الحريري ترتيب العلاقة مع رئيس القوات اللبنانية سمير جعجع («الأخبار»، 16/05/2018)، فوافق رغم موقفه السلبي من حليفه السابق. ذلك أن الحريري يُحمّل جعجع جزءاً من مسؤولية ما تعرّض له في السعودية. أما الأمر الثاني، فوضع «فيتو» على تولّي حزب الله حقائب أمنية أو سيادية أو حقيبتي الاتصالات والأشغال. وعندما ارتكب السعوديون جريمة اغتيال الصحافي جمال خاشقجي، تنفّس لبنان وتشكلت حكومته بعيداً عن الأوامر الملكية.

We are at a critical time to save Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange

Global Research, April 18, 2019

In every struggle for Peace and Justice, there are critical moments that can change the outcome of that struggle. These days are so crucial to save the Body and Mind of two great humble human beings who are under immense barbaric treatment by their captors. Their voices have been silenced by illegal arrests and since then have been denied any contact with the outside world. Wherever we are, we must feel their pain and at this moment be their voices.

In the U.S., the Democratic and Republican Administrations already have introduced a dreadful detention system like Guantanamo Bay to justify and normalize their torturous techniques in breaking down the spirit of their detainees. The submissive U.K. “leaders” without any legal permission or logical reason have detained Julian Assange in their own “GITMO” Belmarsh Prison. This notorious prison in London poses grave concerns about the wellbeing of Julian Assange.

Today, we must increase our efforts to save Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange and make their freedom possible. We have the right to know about the health of our loved ones behind bars. The right of visitation for people in detention is a minimum demand that every civilized nation must accommodate. A delegation of immediate families members, the families of the Iraqi victims, doctors, lawyers, journalists and supporters should have the right to visit Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange.

Let’s not forget: the “Original Sin” mainly was the publication of a video about how a series of air-to-ground attacks conducted by a team of two U.S. AH-64 Apache helicopters in Al-Amin al-Thaniyah in Iraq killing innocent civilians while they were laughing and shooting.

Free Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange NOW!

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Massoud Nayeri is a graphic designer and an independent peace activist based in the United States. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from the author

Hillary Halloween

Posted on October 31, 2016

hillaryhalloweed

Scoopfeed

Thank you to all our Patreon members who submitted ideas. It was a tough decision because there were so many good entries! Tina and I decided on one that included the phrase “I’m Witch Her” — a play on Hillary’s lame slogan, “I’m With Her.”

I decided to make the cartoon extra scary for Halloween, but the prospect of a criminal in the White House truly IS scary. Trump should win in a landslide—especially considering the latest FBI investigation—this time also involving Hillary’s aide Huma Abedin and her ex-husband, Anthony Weiner.

It’s my feeling the only way Hillary can win is if she and her operatives try to rig the election. If the witch Hillary succeeds in corrupting the election itself, it would lead to a lot of anger and protests. Maybe even a revolution.

Crooked Hillary and Bill the rapist are double trouble.

—Ben Garrison

Hillary’ Secret Speeches to Corporate Lobbyists & CEOs

Hillary’ Secret Speeches to Corporate Lobbyists & CEOs

ERIC ZUESSE | 16.10.2016

Hillary’ Secret Speeches to Corporate Lobbyists & CEOs

Wikileaks has recently released what the press refers to as Hillary Clinton’s paid secret speeches to corporations, but that’s a gross mischaracterization of the Wikileaks data-dump, because not a single one of her at least 91 paid secret speeches has been released anywhere. Only excerpts, brief quotations from them, have been released. The Wikileaks dump isn’t of her speeches at all, but instead from the email file and other computer files of her campaign chief, John Podesta, when he told his staff to look through her speeches and send to him brief passages that might be used against Hillary’s campaign if the passages were to leak out prior to the election.

Even Podesta hadn’t read the speeches, and he didn’t select the passages that would he «flagged». The complete file is an 80-page docx document (titled «HWA Speech Flags,» meaning excerpts that might cause problems for Hillary) which file Wikileaks unfortunately failed to convert into the universally available, free-of-charge, and more-easily-usable pdf format. (Wikileaks apparently doesn’t much care about accessibility of the information it leaks.)

Podesta’s staff excerpted only non-incriminating passages, which actually won’t be particularly disturbing to progressives, other than indicating that Hillary proudly self-identifies as being part of the monied elite, not as being part of the masses — and conservatives wouldn’t be at all disturbed at her pro-aristocracy views; they too admire the aristocracy; only progressives (including Sanders supporters) might find such passages disturbing. As I’ll indicate at the end of this article, her speeches actually did contain some seriously incriminating passages, but Podesta’s staff failed to include any of them. Perhaps Podesta’s staff are so conservative that that’s the reason why the far-right-wing things she said in her speeches weren’t flagged by them — Hillary’s blatantly fascist assertions didn’t strike them as being at all controversial.

First, then, from the Wikileaks dump, here are some of the excerpts that I found to be marginally interesting (and nothing, really, in the wikileaked dump, was more than that):

Hillary Clinton Said There Was «A Bias Against People Who Have Led Successful And/Or Complicated Lives,» Citing The Need To Divese Of Assets, Positions, And Stocks.* «SECRETARY CLINTON: Yeah. Well, you know what [GoldmanSachs then Citigroup] Bob Rubin said about that. He said, you know, when he came to Washington, he had a fortune. And when he left Washington, he had a small – MR. BLANKFEIN [GoldmanSachs head]: That’s how you have a small fortune, is you go to Washington. SECRETARY CLINTON: You go to Washington. Right. But, you know, part of the problem with the political situation, too, is that there is such a bias against people who have led successful and/or complicated lives. You know, the divestment of assets, the stripping of all kinds of positions, the sale of stocks. It just becomes very onerous and unnecessary». [Goldman Sachs Builders And Innovators Summit, 10/29/13]

It’s found on page 55 of Podesta’s master-file of all of the excerpts (that’s the docx file).

Hillary Clinton is there opposing the requirement for extremely wealthy people to separate, or otherwise insulate, their wealth from becoming impacted by (grown by) political decisions that they might make while serving as public officials. According to this excerpt, she gave that speech on 29 October 2013. She was implying there that her listeners, if they should decide to leave «the private sector» for «public service» like she has done, oughtn’t be required to sacrifice anything of their existing private income-stream (much less required not to use their public office for enhancing their wealth) — that such personal ‘sacrifice’ should instead be able to be ‘rewarded’ in ways that currently aren’t legal.

She’s implicitly praising both herself and them, as being especially valuable persons, who therefore have an intrinsic right to use their private wealth in any way that they want, not be restrained by ‘unnecessary’ anti-corruption laws, which shouldn’t even exist for such terrific people, who have earned the right to be living «complicated lives». (She speaks in code, which they understand.)

Here’s another excerpt from that speech, and it’s on page 54 of the complete file:

Many of you in this room are on the cutting edge of technology or health care or some other segment of the economy, so you are people who look over the horizon. And coming into public life and bringing that perspective as well as the success and the insulation that success gives you could really help in a lot of our political situations right now.

So: these rich people shouldn’t be required to separate their personal investments from the decisions that they would be making if they were to come to be holding public office (and is she referring to herself there?), but they should be taking advantage of, or exploiting «the insulation that success gives you,» because, somehow, supposedly, it «could really help in a lot of our political situations right now». But does that really make any good sense, from the standpoint of the public? Or is it instead perhaps dangerous to the public?

On page 22 of the complete file, is this:

Hillary Clinton Praised The Increase In Gas And Oil Production In The US, Saying «We Are Now Energy Independent, Something We Have Hoped For And Worked For Over Many, Many Years». In her remarks at Ameriprise, Hillary Clinton said, «And as we speak, Gazprom is attempting to take over other strategic energy infrastructure in Europe. This is pure power politics. And that’s why as secretary of state, starting in March of 2009, I pushed the Europeans to get serious about finding alternative energy sources, and to invest real resources in their infrastructure so they would not be at Putin’s mercy. […]

And we’re in such a great position to do that because of the increase in gas and oil production in our own country, we are now energy independent, something we have hoped for and worked for over many, many years. That gives us tools we didn’t have before. And it also gives us the opportunity not only to invest those resources in more manufacturing and other activities that benefit us directly here at home, but to be a bulwark with our supplies against the kind of intimidation we see going on from Russia». [Hillary Clinton’s Remarks at Ameriprise, 7/26/14]

She elsewhere was pushing Europe to do all that it can to reduce its purchases of oil and gas from Russia. On page 25:

Hillary Clinton Began Urging Europe To Be More Energy Independent And Pushing For »A More Competitive Marketplace For Energy». «HILLARY CLINTON: [On Putin] Secondly, the effort to undermine the market in oil and gas and commodities goes right at the source of Russia’s wealth. When I was Secretary I cannot say I saw this coming, but what I saw was that in 2006 in January he cut off gas to Eastern Europe. I think like a dozen people froze to death in Poland. He did it again in 2009, primarily focused on Ukraine. He has used his energy weapon to intimidate Europe. And starting in 2009 I began having conversations with the Europeans that they had to do more to be more independent and to push for a more competitive marketplace for energy. I formed something called the US-EU Energy Council and began trying to look at what more we could do to really wean people away from Russian supplies. The more we can do that the more difficult it will be for Putin to maintain his hold on leadership, even with his inner circle without changing course». [Hillary Clinton Remarks at Marketo, 4/8/14]

Europe’s main supplier of oil and gas is Russia. The US fracking companies, including especially the majors, would benefit by Europe’s importing more of America’s oil and gas from them, less from Russia. Also, US companies work with, and could build pipelines for, oil and gas from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, and Kuwait, all of which royal families are likewise anti-Russian, which means pro-American-aristocracy. Hillary is making clear to her financial supporters, that she’s on their side, against Russia. She portrays «a dozen people frozen to death in Poland» referring actually to a situation where Russia’s gas supplies through Ukraine had been halted due to Ukraine’s demanding even bigger price-discounts than Russia already was granting to them, but her listeners are anti-Russian and she is bonding with them. Then, on page 38 is this, likewise assuming that when the stockholders of US-based companies benefit, the United States is necessarily benefiting — in other words: assuming that the interests of America’s corporate owners are necessarily identical to the interests of ‘America’:

Hillary Clinton: «I Visited The Boeing Design Center In Moscow… I Made The Case That Boeing’s Jet Set The Global Gold Standard». «In 2010, President Obama set a target of doubling America’s exports over five years, and at the State Department I made export promotions a personal mission. So as I traveled the world on behalf of our country, I did everything I could to go to bat for American companies trying to break into new markets and compete on a level playing field. It took me to some really interesting places, particularly now with all the problems we’re seeing with Russia and President Putin. Back in 2009, when Dmitri Medvedev was actually president, I visited the Boeing Design Center in Moscow, because Boeing had been trying to secure a contract for new planes with the Russians. And I made the case that Boeing’s jet set the global gold standard. And after I left, our embassy kept at it, and in 2010 Russians agreed to buy 50 737s for almost $4 billion, which translates into thousands of American jobs». [Hillary Clinton Remarks at the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Convention, 4/10/14]

She was there equating the interests of America’s big exporters — that’s to say the large international corporations that are headquartered in the US — as constituting the interests of «America». «As I traveled the world on behalf of our country,» she was saying there that ‘our country’ was people like themselves — the major executives and stockholders in US international corporations, and their lobbyists. That’s the Wall Street view of ‘America’. But if she had been selling Medvedev planes that were made in America by American workers but for Airbus or another non-US-owned-and-run company, then would Wall Street, and Hillary Clinton, equally think that to be patriotic, or «on behalf of our country»? Clearly: she is equating the United States with the owners and top executives of corporations, instead of with the workers, or the consumers. No wonder, then, that her entire career has been financed by Wall Street — her viewpoint is consistently theirs. She doesn’t have to say that it’s true; she displays that it’s true, regarding her mindset. But she speaks it in code, because saying such things in direct language doesn’t sound nearly so kosher, much less pretty.

On page 60, she pretends that she had no awareness at all of the coup that weeks earlier overthrew the democratically elected President of Ukraine, for whom 75% of Crimeans and 90% of Donbass residents had voted — the February 2014 coup that her own State Department (including her close friend Victoria Nuland) had started preparing inside the US Embassy in Ukraine by no later than 1 March 2013, which was a year before the coup itself culminated; the coup that included a massacre by US-hired mercenaries of the racist Right Sector, against Crimeans who had demonstrated peacefully against the overthrow; she pretended utter ignorance about it all, and alleged that instead it was Putin — not she and Obama — who was copying Hitler by invading an independent country (in this case Ukraine, by means of that bloody Kiev coup):

Hillary Clinton Stated What She Said Yesterday Is That Claims By Putin And Other Russians That They Had To Go Into Crimea Was Reminiscent Of Germany In The 1930s. »What I said yesterday is that the claims by President Putin and other Russians that they had to go into Crimea and maybe further into Eastern Ukraine because they had to protect the Russian minorities. And that is reminiscent of claims that were made back in the 1930s when Germany under the Nazis kept talking about how they had to protect German minorities in Poland, in Czechoslovakia, and elsewhere throughout Europe. So I just want everybody to have a little historic[al — she’s so illiterate that she uses «historic» when she actually means historical] perspective. I’m not making a comparison, certainly, but I am recommending that we, perhaps, can learn from this tactic that has been used before». [03052014 HWA Remarks at UCLA.DOC, p. 19]

Finally, and not at all included in the Wikileaks dump, there was a reporter who, unlike the people on the Clinton campaign staff, did happen to obtain access to, and find to be shockingly fascist, not merely one thing but two things that that reporter actually heard her deliver, and made note of at that time, when he managed to sneak into the particular event where Hillary was giving that particular speech. This occurred at the Biotechnology Industry Organization convention in San Diego, on 25 June 2014, a $225,000 speech that she was giving to lobbyists for GMO firms, a speech that ended up being excerpted-from in just two brief and innocuous excerpts in the Wikileaks dump, but that actually — based upon what the local newspaper reporter heard and transcribed from it — contained far worse in it than Podesta’s ‘researchers’ found and reported to him. As I wrote summarizing the matter, in my own article about this speech, two years after the speech, on 26 June 2016:

In other words: As President, she would aim to sign into law a program to provide subsidies from US taxpayers to Monsanto and other biotech firms, to assist their PR and lobbying organizations to eliminate what she says is «a big gap between the facts and what the perceptions are» concerning genetically modified seeds and other GMOs. In other words: she ignores the evidence that started to be published in scientific journals in 2012 showing that Monsanto and other GMO firms were selectively publishing studies that alleged to show their products to be safe, while selectively blocking publication of studies that — on the basis of better methodology — showed them to be unsafe. She wants US taxpayers to assist GMO firms in their propaganda that’s based on their own flawed published studies, financed by the GMO industry, and that ignores the studies that they refuse to have published. She wants America’s consumers to help to finance their own being poisoned by lying companies, who rake in profits from poisoning them.

The original 25 June 2014 article about the speech, written by reporter Ken Stone in the Times of San Diego, was appropriately titled, «Hillary Clinton Cheers Biotechers, Backing GMOs and Federal Help». It makes clear that she really does feel that Americans should be subsidizing, not resisting, the GMO foods industry, and that Americans even should be subsidizing those corporations’ propaganda, so as to boost those companies’ sales to America’s consumers.

Hillary’s top donor for 2016 is Paloma Partners, advisors to Wall Street. Previously, her top contributors were virtually all of Wall Street. She has all the right support, from all the far-right people, irrespective of their political Party. She is expecting the American public to tag along behind them. Current polls suggest that they probably will.

Nasser Kandil: 60 minutes On Yemen, Syria, and Lebanon

ستون دقيقة مع ناصر قنديل 19 6 2015

 مع الحدث | المحامي انطوان نصر الله | المنار

حوار اليوم : سالم زهران | NBN 20.6.2015

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Secret CIA report provided by WikiLeaks to Al-Akhbar admits to failure of ‘targeted killings’

Screenshot of the cover page of the ‘CIA Review of High-Value Target Assassination Programs’ report, released on December 18, 2014. Image credit: WikiLeaks
Published Thursday, December 18, 2014
A secret CIA review by the Office of Transnational Issues on the use of High-Value Targeting (HVT) – in other words, capture and killing of important enemy military targets for the United States – as part of an overall counterinsurgency strategy has been released by WikiLeaks. It is the first in a series of leaks regarding the CIA, and was obtained by Al-Akhbar English. The review is a small peak into the rational and planning of the US’ counter-insurgency tactics, and reveals that these policies persist despite their failure.
The 18-page study titled, “Making High-Value Targeting Operations an Effective Counterinsurgency Tool,” and distributed on June 7, 2009, is labeled as Secret//NOFORN, meaning that it has the second-highest classified categorization – considered a serious threat to US national security if leaked – and is strictly off limits to foreign nationals.
The study provides an overall assessment of the use of HVT, relying “on clandestine and defense attache reporting, discussions with HVT practitioners, a CIA-sponsored study on HVT operations in counterinsurgencies, and our review of current and historical case studies.” [pg. iii]
Essentially, it is a tiny glimpse into the logic and reasoning within the American intelligence organization of programs involving assassination, kidnapping, and other tactics to eliminate military opponents.
According to the study, HVT is defined as:
[F]ocused operations against specific individuals or networks whose removal or marginalization should disproportionately degrade an insurgent group’s effectiveness. The criteria for designating high value targets will vary according to factors such as the insurgent group’s capabilities, structure, and leadership dynamics and the government’s desired outcome. [pg. 1]

What is notable in terms of the CIA’s own assessment of these case studies is the admission by the authors that the least successful HVT operations involve countries that the US and its close ally Israel have occupied or are currently at war with.

At first glance, the photo used on the front page of the report portraying military images with a dash of Orientalism cannot be ignored. It is a collage of bearded men with guns, a white man riding a camel, military men in full gear, and an army man facing a tank.
The study’s language and format are akin to those generally used in corporate documents. There is great care not to use the words “assassination,” or “killing,” and other similar terms to denote the practice. Moreover, there is no in-depth account of the historical, political, and social contexts that are at play in the conflicts referred to in the study. The latter is firmly from a state-military perspective, and it builds its review from that standpoint.
In terms of case studies, the review relies on the experiences of eight countries: the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan (2001 – to present), France’s war against Algerian independence (1954 –62), Colombia’s war against the ultra-left wing militia the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the US and Iraqi government’s military campaigns against the Iraqi resistance (2004 – present), Israel’s war on different Palestinian resistance organizations (1972 – present), Peru’s war with the communist Shinning Path (1980-99), the UK’s war with Northern Ireland’s Irish Republican Army (1969-98), and Sri Lanka’s war against the Tamil Tigers (1983-2009). The review also notes that it relied on additional examples from Russia’s war with Chechnya, US strikes on armed groups in Libya and Pakistan, and Thailand’s fight against southern secessionists.
What is notable in terms of the CIA’s own assessment of these case studies is the admission by the authors that the least successful HVT operations involve countries that the US and its close ally Israel have occupied or are currently at war with. Israel, in particular, scored the lowest, with its HVT program labeled as “limited” in its contribution of a “counter-insurgency success.”
The review does not go into the details of the program’s failures, but for anyone well-versed in the more than half a century of incremental genocide of the Palestinians by Israel, the answer is starkly clear.
What is telling is that other case studies that include US involvement, like Iraq and Afghanistan, and France’s attempt to maintain hold of Algeria in the 1950s are also deemed less successful. The lesson, one that seems to have not been part of the authors’ calculations, is that these specific cases involve issues of self-determination, decolonization, and struggles for liberation from foreign control. It is not simply a matter of failed HVT practices, but is linked to issues that are far deeper, and more essential.
’Potential Strategic Effects of HVT Operations’
In discussing the use of HVT, the study states that:
“Civilian and military leaders of governments fighting insurgencies have often turned to high-value targeting (HVT) operations to achieve objectives such as damaging an insurgent group by depriving it of effective direction and experience, deterring future guerrilla actions by demonstrating the consequences, demoralizing rank-and-file members, promoting perceptions of regime viability in providing security, and imposing punishments for past acts.”
Both potential “positives” and “negatives” of the practice were highlighted by the review. In terms of positives, the authors of the review notes,
“Potential positive effects of HVT operations include eroding insurgent effectiveness, weakening insurgent will, reducing the level of insurgent support, fragmenting or splitting the insurgent group, altering insurgent strategy or organization in ways that favor the government, and strengthening government morale and support.” [pg. 1]
On the other hand, the negatives include
“increasing insurgent support, causing a government to neglect other aspects of its counterinsurgency strategy, provoking insurgents to alter strategy or organization in ways that favor the insurgents, strengthening an armed group’s popular support with the population, radicalizing an insurgent group’s remaining leaders, and creating a vacuum into which more radical groups can enter.” [pg. 1]

Most glaringly, not once throughout the whole assessment is there any consideration of how HVT impacts or violates international law, or domestic US law, or the laws of war.

Most glaringly, not once throughout the whole assessment is there any consideration of how HVT impacts or violates international law, or domestic US law, or the laws of war. Not once is the death of civilians, dubbed “collateral damage,” emphasized as a major matter of concern in this practice.
The effectiveness and consequences of these capture or killing programs, according to the authors of the study, are based on a number of variables within both government and non-state organizations.
In terms of non-state organizations, or in the words of the study, “insurgent” or “terrorist” groups, factors that affect the viability of surviving assassinations or capture that is usual of HVT programs include:
  • the groups’ structure, whether it is centralized or decentralized,or if it is led by leaders who “posses a rare combination of initiative, charisma, strategic vision, and communications skills” [pg. 4]
  • the groups’ “succession planning, breadth and depth of military and political competence, and ability to elevate promising commanders through their ranks” [pg. 4]
  • the level of visibility, in which “[t]he loss of visible public figures” that could create “wider psychological repercussions than the loss of underground leaders” [pg. 4]
  • the “life cycle” of a group, where its initial or declining stages makes it more vulnerable to HVT
  • the groups’ “unifying cause, deep ties to its constituency, or a broad support base can lessen the impact of leadership losses by ensuring a steady flow of replacement recruits” [pg.4]
  • or whether a non-state military group has access to internal or external sanctuaries.
For states, the factors that impact HVT programs, according to the CIA review, is predicated on:
  • the “duration and intensity of HVT operations,” where in “extensive and protracted” operations are deemed more effective than “short or inconsistent” ones [pg.5]
  • the “choice of HVT method” based off of “culture and the likelihood of collateral damage” to shape strategies that include “using psychological operations to marginalize them, or conducting kinetic strikes,” and are then adapted to fit a “functional approach” – ie “targeting aimed at logistics or financial” – or “pruning approach” that could “stunt an organization’s growth, interrupt sources of supply, or isolate portions of an insurgent network” or could “remove effective midlevel leaders, protect incompetent leaders or restore them to positions of authority, separate insurgent personalities from potential sources of government sponsorship, or protect human sources that are collecting intelligence on the networks” [pg. 5]
The use of the term “pruning” garners a moment’s pause by the reader. It is an example of the dehumanizing terms and expressions used against targets that are common in these reports. In this case, the term “pruning” for a process of gradually killing off ‘targets’ is almost presented as a light-hearted form of gardening. It is a terrifying notion that lives of human beings, even if they are armed, is compared to the selective removal of parts of a plant.
’Best [killing] practices’
The end of the review provide a “best practices” guideline on how to conduct HVT operations.
It states that since
“HVT operations can have unforeseen effects, such as empowering radical leaders” therefore success is most likely “when governments are clear about the desired impact on the insurgent group’s trajectory.” [pg. 6]
It further states that success also relies on a government’s ability to have
“a deep understanding of the targeted group’s internal workings and specific vulnerabilities, which is usually gained by penetrating the group or debriefing defectors.” [pg.6]
“Social, ethnic, or ideological differences among leaders and members and within leadership groups offer vulnerabilities to exploit,” it adds.
Moreover, the review cautions that “best practices” in terms of assassinations or capture of highly-valued targets is based on “how well a government conducts the other military and nonmilitary elements of its counterinsurgency campaign … that shapes the HVT programs’ contributions to overall counterinsurgency success,
” as well as “[d]irecting HVT operations against the most violent and extremist leaders may increase the likelihood of an eventual political settlement,” and by “[e]xacerbating or exploiting leadership fissures, for example by co-opting disaffected insurgent leaders, can be as effective as targeting a group’s leadership militarily.” [pg. 7]
What is remarkable about the problematic “best practices” guidelines presented here in July 2009, is that a mere few months later the US decided to expand its drone policy, especially in Pakistan, in December 2009. The result of that policy since is the deaths of nearly 900 civilians, of which almost 200 are children, in Pakistan – according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism – immense anti-American sentiment in the region, and the growth of armed groups like the Pakistan Taliban and others in Afghanistan. From 2009 to 2010 alone, drone strikes on Pakistan doubled in number, from 52 CIA drone strikes to 128.

What is remarkable about the problematic “best practices” guidelines presented here in July 2009, is that a mere few months later the US decided to expand its drone policy, especially in Pakistan, in December 2009.

 The outcome of such “counterinsurgency strategies” is grim when taking into account Yemen, Somalia, and other places in which US death squads and drone strikes are in use.
Similarly, the American policies in Iraq, which seemed to have ignored much of the guidelines, have facilitated the growth of more radical militant organizations like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and have allowed sectarianism and governmental abuses in the country to flourish. In light of the report’s clear recommendation to have goals to ensure HVT’s success, and considering the US’ current campaign against ISIS in Iraq and in Syria, which is murky and lacks specific aims, the outcome can be predicted to be as disastrous as its other campaigns against militant groups.
Even if we were to assume the US has the legitimacy to carry out such operations, and that its targets do indeed pose a threat to the security of the US and its allies, the question remains: why do US political and military authorities continue to use tactics that its own agents admit are failing their intended purpose?
The current scandal over the US Senate report on the continued brutal use of torture by the CIA, despite the fact that numerous experts and military and intelligence personnel have stated that torture does not work, presents an obvious symbol of the inherent problems of US policy-making. Incompetence, personal and commercial interests, politics, and xenophobia within US political, intelligence, and military sectors, among other factors, seem to be the main drivers behind these failed tactics. US policy makers’ inability and lack of will to reverse these policies ensure that they will fail in the future and continue to pose a threat to the security of civilians in targeted states.
Yazan is a senior writer for Al-Akhbar English. Follow him on Twitter: @WhySadeye
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